Album Review: Billy Talent – Billy Talent II
II is the second album by Canadian rockers Billy Talent. The group consists of vocalist Ben Kowalewicz, guitarist Ian D’sar, drummer Aaron Solowoniuk and bassist John Gallant. The predecessor Billy Talent I was an impressive debut album which saw the band achieve success with hits such as Try Honesty and The Ex. So will Billy Talent be able to produce an album that’s even more spectacular?
The album begins with Devil In A Midnight Mass, which is a fantastic opening track because we first encounter a evil fuzz-distorted guitar riff that reflects the title of the song brilliantly. What makes this an excellent introduction to the album is not only does it show a continuation from where Billy Talent left off, it also shows they have been very creative in the studio. From the very first track, there is already a noticable change in the band’s repertoire. Red Flag revolves around the concept of how a revolution can happen by the youths of today as Kowalewicz sings “Our only weapons are the guns of youth/It’s only time before they tighten the noose/And then the hunt will be on for you.” Solowoniuk’s drums are a prominent feature that brings life to the song because it mimics the political aspect of the track. The effect on the listener is tremendous because it makes you feel you’re part of a campaign.
Worker Bees starts with Gallant’s demeaning and pumping bassline which feels like there is an actual swarm of bees coming for you! Again the song has similarities to Red Flag because of what the song tries to express with lyrics “Protect the hive from enemies!/Can we fight to save our souls?” D’sar once again proves his abilities on guitar by providing a lovely solo consisting of octaves. Pins & Needles has a technical but eery guitar riff. The song is about personal relationships and how insecurities can be barriers. Fallen Leaves is another track that has a fantastic hook to it which is accompanied by a unusual guitar riff. What’s wonderful is that it grabs your attention immediately with lyrics “In a crooked little town/They were never lost and found/Fallen leaves, fallen leaves, fallen leaves on the ground.” If Fallen Leaves appeals then Where Is The Line? will have you in tears because of how far this band have come since their debut. Surrender is a slow number which revolves around relationships. Again we see Kowalewicz’s clever play on lyrics “Surrender every word, every thought, every sound.” The other tracks such as Sympathy, Burn The Evidence and Perfect World are far from being anything but fillers. If anything they show that Billy really do have talent!
Billy Talent II proves and says a lot for the band because of how much they have progressed since their first album which was very aggressive, whereas this album is more melodic and mature because it tackles real-life issues as well as politics. The album’s delivery is breath-taking because every single musician makes a significant feature on every track. Fans should be proud because Billy Talent have produced a masterpiece that has topped expectations. This is a definite milestone in Billy Talent’s back catalogue!