Billy Talent have now come to the time in their career to release the inevitable greatest hits compilation, and attempt to claw in some new punk rock fans who have somehow missed them over the last decade. Although a clearly outdated/expensive way of acquiring a singles playlist for anybody with even half of the music available, a compilation record can appeal to a younger generation of fans who may have heard ‘Red Flag’ one day and wanted an overview of the Canadian band’s career. Add to that two brand new unreleased tracks, and you suddenly get a great excuse to spin a bunch of Billy Talent tracks on ‘Hits’ to see if you still remember all of the words.
The 12 tracks taken from the four Billy Talent albums document the amazing back catalogue they have, with three of the records going platinum in both core audiences of Canada and Germany and maintaining their standard over ten years. The big hitters of ‘Fallen Leaves’, ‘Try Honesty’ and ‘Rusted From The Rain’ all sit pretty on the tracklisting along with the majority of their singles, but notable absentees ‘The Ex’ and ‘Turn Your Back’ oddly don’t make the cut.
Billy Talent are a prime example of continuing your sound without playing with unnecessary experimentation and still thrashing out top quality material every time. The trade-off between Ben Kowalewicz‘s chorus vocals and the rest of the gang chipping in is a staple for the band, and ‘Kingdom Of Zod’ follows all traits with as much excitement as the original self-titled packed back in 2003.
‘Chasing The Sun’, however, is a finger-picking ballad about a close friend that passed, proving they can put the aggression aside for personal serious matters, and come out with an interesting and heartfelt alternative to their normal style for a satisfying close to the album. These new tracks are a must have for any follower of the band, but there’s nothing else really of note, unless you’ve been living under a rock for a decade and avoided one of the best punk rock bands of the noughties. ‘Hits’ is one for the newcomers, if there are any, or die-hard collectors and completists.
Written by Michael Heath (@MikeBeef)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.