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CD REVIEW: ANDY BLACK – The Shadow Side

Promo Image

Label: Republic Records

Release Date: May 6, 2016

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

It’s no secret that Black Veil Brides is one of my favorite bands to come along in the last five year or so.  When lead singer and the bands founding member announced he was cutting an album under the moniker Andy Black and that it was a departure from the BVB sound, I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I ran out and picked up a copy to absorb.  Disc opener “Homecoming King” opens with an electronic groove woven through it, but we are soon treated to a darker feel that aligns this music with a lot of stuff from Andy’s catalog as a writer.  The melancholic delivery of this track is a feel and vibe that resurfaces in different tracks.  “Love Was Made to Break” pulls more of an electronic rhythm and vibe into the mix underneath Andy’s vocals.  The chorus shows us a softer side of his voice and delivery as compared to other songs on this and other releases.  “Paint It Black” is a deeper track that rides the wave of Andy’s lower register and delivery of the vocals.  The chorus hits and breathes life into the song.  The musical track is simple and allows the vocals to carry the track.  Closing track “The Void” is a beautiful track that starts off slow and simple and gains intensity through the chorus without getting heavy or grinding.  The vocals are crisp and show off Andy’s upper registers more than most tracks in his catalog do.

“We Don’t Have To Dance” was the first track released from the effort and while it shows a different side of Andy musically, you can’t hide the catchy hooks and choruses he has built into his BVB repertoire.  The tempo of this track gets the foot tapping when the chorus kicks in.  “Stay Alive” is one of the tracks that could just as easily been recorded by the Brides – the driving bottom end and chugging riffs are solid and provide a killer backdrop for the Andy’s vocals, which are some of the best on the disc.  “Beautiful Pain” is one of the cooler tracks on the disc, as it introduces different sounds and textures to the collection underneath Andy’s emotionally driven lyrics and vocals.  This is song that will get lighters and phones in the air in a live situation.  “Drown Me Out” is cut from the same cloth as “Stay Alive,” as the heavy bottom end, riffs and anthemic vibe are patterned from other music in Andy’s song book.  “Break Your Halo” presents an eerie intro and vibe to the disc without becoming too heavy or dark.  The vocals shift between different registers and vibes, giving the track a cool vibe.

“Ribcage” is another track that builds from the opening and into the chorus.  The lyrics are catchy and should become a rousing live track if this one makes it to the setlist when he tours to support the disc.  The vibe of this track keeps you entertained and listening, as well as providing a killer cadence for running.  “Put The Gun Down” features an awesome violin piece on the intro that contrasts Andy’s deeper vocal pattern.  The chorus has layered vocals and a musical accompaniment that seems lush and fills the void under the vocals.  “Louder Than Your Love” is a straight-ahead rocker that features killer drums, soaring guitars, and a rich vocal.  This song has all of the qualities of a great rock rock track, including one of the best bridges on the disc full of great guitars, vocals, and other sounds.  “Broken Pieces” is a cool ballad-ish track that features a big wall-of-sound style background vocal supporting the lead, while anchoring the chorus.  This disc is a great bridge for fans of Andy while his band works up new material for their fifth album.  I can’t wait to see where this disc leads for Andy, both as a solo artist and as a member of Black Veil Brides.

Tracklisting: Homecoming King – We Don’t Have To Dance – Ribcage – Stay Alive – Love Was Made to Break – Beautiful Pain – Put The Gun Down – Drown Me Out – Paint It Black – Break Your Halo – Louder Than Your Love – Broken Pieces – The Void

ANDY BLACK LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

THE SHADOW SIDE – ITUNES

Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

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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