Who needs new ideas or innovations when you’ve got the faint, warm glow of nostalgia to wind back the years and cover the cracks with? Year Long Disaster make no apologies for their stereotypical hard rock existence, complete with former homeless crack addictions and the subsequent rehab sessions you expect from these archetypal retro outfits.
Harking back to the dead old days of hair metal when Jack Daniels was viewed as an appropriate accompaniment to cornflakes, Year Long Disaster grab the “blast from the past” clichÃ© and run with it. ‘Black Magic; All Mysteries Revealed’ sounds at least 20 years too late, yet that’s probably the point. This isn’t ironic, it isn’t Spinal Tap, and honestly it isn’t all that great. The Darkness for all their awfulness as a serious musical proposition were loud, colourful and fun, almost like some kind of caricature cover band. They understood why this genre of over bloated egos in leather pants and pony tails failed and died, and played up to it accordingly. Unfortunately, bands such as Year Long Disaster either can’t let go of the past or just don’t get the joke. Sure, some people will enjoy this as a bridge to their long gone youth before they became trapped in balding middle management, but it’s just that; a homage to a bygone time that passed on for some very good reasons. This isn’t an album of new music in so much that it’s a museum piece reconstruction of the 80’s metal scene rejects.
Focusing on the tracks themselves, opener ‘Show Me Your Teeth’ feels like some strange sexualised satire of the ‘Smell The Glove’ Spinal Tap variety delivered with a straight, serious face and less flair. ‘Sparrow Hill’ sounds like Ozzy Osbourne singing the verses to a Jane’s Addiction track played by a college band, whilst ‘Seven Swords’ ticks the box labelled mandatory acoustic ballad without fail. The rest are all rather rinse and repeat combinations of the above. Throughout the album, the band seem to be trying to pull off some kind of flimsy, escapist man rebellion that only succeeds in unravelling into the sound of a mid life crisis in full swing.
This is the album those part-time weekend rock stars you see playing away their Saturday nights in the corner of the dingiest pub or bar in town wish they could put out, and that’s why you shouldn’t encourage them by buying this bundle of tracks. The musicianship isn’t bad, the production is average and the songs aren’t completely broken, but save this sort of thing for once you’ve given up and sold-out to the real world. You’ll need it then for the weekends when you want a suitable soundtrack to that sleeveless denim jacket, and confederate flag bandana combo you wear to feel dangerous and fight back at society. On Monday you go back to your job at the council waste management office in a shirt and tie. There’s still so much new music out there to burn your hopes out on in the meantime. The over 50 Tyler Durden moment can wait.
Written by Greg Johnson