by Mark Allen
Staff Writer –
Those of us lucky enough to grow up amidst the excess of the ‘80s fondly recall when Aqua Net and spandex ruled the metal world, when bands like Poison, Stryper, and Trixter could be found in every record shop and bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots had not yet crawled out of the underground to change—some might say ruin—the hard rock landscape forever.
Well, if the rise of grunge shattered your soul, the latest album from Blessed By A Broken Heart (abbreviated by fans to BBABH) might just be the healing touch you need. Feel the Power is an ear-candy overload of kick ass hair-metal with all the screaming guitars, massive hooks, mega-choruses, and stacked harmonies you could ask for. This album is a shred-metal smorgasbord. Guitarist Shred Sean (probably not his birth name, but it has a ring to it) plays with the melodic ferocity of Chris Impellitteri and he absolutely smokes the six-string on this release.
BBABH’s debut (All is Fair in Love and War) was pretty much straight up metalcore. On their sophomore effort (Pedal to the Metal) they mixed this metalcore foundation with cheesy glam trappings to create a new sub-genre dubbed glam-core. Now they have naturally progressed into a full-fledged glam-metal force. The only hint of their metalcore roots is the occasional scream, but they only happen on a few songs and never more than a few seconds. Frankly, the band would be wise to jettison this component altogether; the metalcore market is going to have no interest in the slick ‘80s metal BBABH has embraced and the glam-metal gurus loathe harsh screams, however minimal, mucking up their music.
What was old is now new again and the last several years have seen a major rise in retro glam/sleaze metal, mainly from outside the U.S. We have been treated to some awesome albums from the likes of Crashdiet, Steel Panther, and Dynazty, and BBABH can stand right alongside them. Granted, with song titles like “Shut Up and Rock,” “Rockin’ All Night,” and “Skate or Die,” you pretty much know before you even press Play that the lyrics are about as deep as a cat’s water dish, but that is by design, the band deliberately recreating the party-hearty clichés of yesteryear. These guys are a Christian band, but you would never glean that from the songs; this album is all about fun, not faith. There’s nothing offensive, but anyone seeking spiritual enlightenment will be more disappointed than a nymphomaniac taking home a eunuch.
Song-wise, BBABH vary between heavy hitters like “Deathwish” (the darkest track on the album), pop-metal anthems like “Shut Up and Rock” (Keel would have killed for this tune), and tender power ballads like “I’ve Got You” (Firehouse would have made this a smash hit). What they all have in common are fiery guitars, humongous hooks, and gigantic backing vocals that are more stacked than a Jugs magazine centerfold. If you love gang vocals shouting “Whoa!” and “Yeah!” then you’ll be more impressed than the Pope running into Jesus at KFC and swapping confessional vignettes over a bucket of extra-crispy.
This is hair-metal heaven, this is shred-metal Shangri-la, this is glam-metal glory, this is pop-metal paradise. It is everything we adored about the hairspray-and-hell-raising ‘80s given sonic reincarnation in the modern age. It is Reckless Love meets Taking Dawn, it’s Steel Panther sans the sleaze, it’s Wig Wam with better guitars…what more do you need to know? Blessed By A Broken Heart is bringing serious muscle to the glam metal game. Do yourself a favor and feel the power.
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock, Hair Metal, Glam Metal
Tony Gambino (lead vocals)
Shred Sean (lead guitar)
Tyler Hoare (bass guitar, backing vocals)
Slater (drums, backing vocals)
Sam Ryder (rhythm guitar, backing vocals)
Dallas Taylor (Maylene and the Sons of Disaster) (vocals on “Shut Up and Rock”)
2. Shut Up and Rock
3. Love Nightmare
5. Thunder Dome
6. Holdin’ Back for Nothin’
7. I’ve Got You
8. Rockin’ All Night
9. Scream It Like You Mean It
10. Skate or Die
11. Innocent Blood
12. Sleepless Nights
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10