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Thursday, 21 February 2019

Blood Red Saints - 'Pulse' Album Review


Blood Red Saints – Pulse

Pulse is the third album from the Blood Red Saints, the first 2 albums 'Speedway' and 'Love Hate Conspiracies' were very much in the melodic rock vein. Pulse moves away from that somewhat with a heavier feel and mix of musical styles but still maintaining the distinctive Blood Red Saints sound.

I first saw BRS a number of years ago at the Rockingham Festival. I’d not heard their material but was advised by the Welsh Mafia that they were not be missed, how right they were.

They were early on the bill but were a revelation, I was hooked. In lead singer Pete Godfrey you have an enigmatic front man who is self-deprecating, a superb vocalist and stunningly funny. Pete has a put down for anyone brave/stupid enough to heckle. Add to that Lee Revill on lead guitar who also produced this album, Neil Hibbs (guitar), Andy Chemney (drums) and the legend that is Rob Naylor (bass) you have a proper band although whether Rob is in or out is one life’s ongoing mysteries.

Since that day I’ve seen the lads a number of times and got to know them as people and spent many happy times chewing the fat and chatting to them. They are bloody decent guys and a superb live band. They also make the effort to attend festivals like Hard Rock Hell and Rockingham even though they’re not playing. Proper rock supporting lads.

And so to Pulse.

Believer - The first track starts with haunting whistling (luckily more Axl Rose than Roger Whitaker) and rolling thunder in the background. The distinctive vocal of PG and a solid drum and bassline lead into a solid moody track far darker and heavier than the previous 2 albums. There’s also the “Let me hear an Amen” line dripping with irony and a blistering solo by Lee Revill.

Animals – again dark and menacing although I didn’t initially get into it to be honest but the driving guitars won me over, this isn’t the soft BRS of old but the intensity of the bass drum at the end is impressive.

Cross to Bear – a lead vocal full of emotion at the start leading into an old style BRS chorus. Nice. The Revill influence is there to hear and I bet Neil Hibbs was loving playing the heavier sound. A feature of the album is the effects used on the PG vocal, the use of a synth and other sound effects throughout. They all contribute to a unique sound.

Invincible – An atmospheric start followed by a superb set of heavy riffs. Thought provoking lyrics and great backing vocals, this would sit happily on the first 2 albums.

I’m Your Devil – the riff to start the song has Year 2000 by Pulp all over it. A high tempo piece with a real high paced melodic rock feel. BRS have always had a Def Leppard sound about them, this album has a bit of a Slang feel by Leppard about it, I don’t mind that at all.

There is also the compulsory voice over chucked in similar to that on the first album. My pedant criticism is that the quote “Money is the root of all evil” is wrong, actually it’s from Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil”. Just saying lads ;-)

Crash Into Me – knock me down with a feather, a full on proper ballad, the softest start to a song yet but lyrics such as “I’m tired of chasing broken dreams” and “I’m learning to fly, but it’s taking some time to get it right, gonna keep on trying” do it for this soft git. Song of the album for me. A proper AOR classic.

Pulse – Title song but for me it’s no Love Hate Conspiracy. It’s solid rock and we do have the good old “Whoa, whoa, whoa” sing-along bit. It’s OK but not the most memorable although it is a grower.

Message To God – a full on hard rock song, another slower, moody, heavier song. I love the heavy guitar riff throughout this leads into What Have We Become – written to the beat of a slower Pour Some Sugar on me to start. The beat to the song is addictive though.

Warrior – a slow atmospheric song. Layered vocals are superbly mixed in to PG’s vocal, “Be careful what you wish for”. Indeed. I love the way it hooks you in without trying, it’s a real ear worm of a track. At the end I felt I was that Warrior (all be it a fat one).

Bring Me To Life – I thought this was gonna be an Evanescence cover. Oh no, it’s another piece of classic AOR, the sound reminds me of multiple AOR songs and the fact I can’t pick exactly one explains how it ticks so many boxes. Personally I’d call this song  “Fix me tonight” but what do I know. A good song and ends a very good album.

In conclusion –I love the BRS guys but if I didn’t like the album then I’d say so. It’s a real mix of music styles and I love some of the heavier stuff even though I freely admit I prefer the AOR songs. The album is a grower and after a few listens I am hooked.

Atmospheric, haunting, moody, heavier riffs and sometimes dark, this is a change for the BRS lads but good for them, a brave move when they could have just gone for a Love Hate Conspiracies part 2.

My slight criticism is that the production could be tightened up, the sound on a laptop and phone is not that good but stick in head phones or a decent speaker turned up loud and the album comes alive. That said when recording on a budget you’re not getting Mutt Lange to help I suppose. I can already hear Pete Godfrey now: ”Don’t listen to it on a laptop or phone then you twat”.

Seeing BRS live is what the band are all about and I’ve already got a couple of their gigs lined up and I can’t wait to hear the new stuff live.

A solid 7/10  

Review by Lawrie

Track Listing:

1. Believer
2. Animals,
3. Cross To Bear
4. Invincible
5. I’m Your Devil
6. Crash Into Me
7. Pulse
8. Message To God
9. Warrior
10. What Have We Become
11. Bring Me To Life

Blood red Saints are:

Pete Godfrey - Vocals
Lee Revil - Guitars
Neil Hibbs - Guitars
Andy Chemney - Drums

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