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| 9 January 2024 | Reply

Label: Arising Empire

Release Date: January 12, 2024

Rating: 96%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

It has been just shy of 8 years since I last reviewed anything from Emil Bulls.  The XX album struck me and the latest release has done that in spades.  From the first note until the last, this disc is full of songs that inspire and strike emotional chords.  Disc opener “Backstabbers” is an aural treasure that features a heavy bottom end, guitars that pair with the intensity of the vocal, and the vocals… from rock to hard core to post all in less than four minutes.  The power of the track lay in the overall delivery and swirl of the vocals and instrumentation.  “The Devil Made Me Do It” picks up where the last track ended and we are treated to a one-two punch of rock that resonates.  The blend of a heavier vocal and the more radio friendly sound reflects the emotion and message in the lyric.  This one gets the foot tapping and head banging, especially when the intensity seems to change at the chorus and bridge.  “Levitate” kicks off with a cool flash of guitars, drums, and bass that set the bar for this track and eases back once the vocals kick in.  The vibe of this track dials back the intensity without giving up any of the rock quotient that is tossed into every track here.  This is a cool sone that should get hands in the air when played live.  “The Ghosts That You Have Called” is a cool track that unfolds featuring some light instrumentation and one of my favorite vocals on the disc.  The emotional delivery is perfect from start to finish, increasing in intensity without overpowering the track musically.  The song adds a different texture to the majority of the collection.  “Sick” features some cool guitar work along with an almost ethereal vibe from the onset that opens up and allows the vocals to shine through on the verse while building to a verse that features a multilayered vocal as well as some cool changes from the drums and bass in the mix allowing this one to stand out.  “Dreams and Debris” is a solid rocker that comes straight at you from the first note, but it takes its time getting to you.  The vocal is cool and layered perfectly of the guitars that are delivered with precision.  The chorus kicks in and this song takes on a slightly anthemic feel that perfect for a live situation.

“Happy Birthday You Are Dead To Me” is another power punch of rock and roll that swirls a mainstream rock radio sound with a hardcore vibe and tosses in some killer bottom end for good measure.  The bridge and chorus are as contagious as they are intense.  This song is one of the heavy hitters that sticks with me after I have cycled through the disc.  “Whirlwind Of Doom” is self prophetic sonically, as this track is indeed a whirlwind full of doom as the song winds through the intro and verse.  The chorus vocal is heavy and thick thanks to the wall of sound layering that adds depth and impact to the track.  “Love Will Fix It” is the one rocker that strips away the heavier feel and texture of the other tracks and delivers a killer rocker that shows off the classic rock influence lying in wait amongst the heavier songs across the disc.  The chugging riffs, heavy handed drums, thumping bass lines, and awesome vocals swirl to create a cool sound that encompasses everything I love about rock and roll.  “She Ain’t Coming Home No More” is another song that features the vocals prominently in a mix of straight forward rock sound, dipping into the heavier musical pool during the bridge with a harder edge from the bottom end that gives this song intensity without drowning itself in aggression.  The vocals keep things a bit lighter while allowing the heavy side to seep in.  “Oceans of Grief” marries the classic rock , modern rock, and heavier sounds Emil Bulls has presented on this disc, leading us toward the end of the collection with a song that encompasses their strengths and shows how well these guys do what they do.  The vocals are powerful and a great counterpart to the musical accompaniment.  While not mainstream, it is a great representation of the bands sound.  Disc closer “Together” dials everything down and back a bit… except for the quality and rock quotient.  While this song may not charge at you, hit you hard between the eyes, or get you riled up, make no mistake – this is a great rocker that relies on its simpler approach to carry the message, and it does it well.  This is a perfect closer to the set as it shows you another musical weapon the band has at its disposal.  All we need here now is some US tour dates from the band to witness these songs live.

Tracklisting: Backstabbers – The Devil Made Me Do It – Happy Birthday You Are Dead To Me – Levitate – Whirlwind Of Doom – The Ghosts That You Have Called – Love Will Fix It – Sick – She Ain’t Coming Home No More – Dreams and Debris – Oceans of Grief – Together







Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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