To preface, I don’t do a lot of album reviews. I was asked by a friend to take a look at Apocalypse Blues Revival‘s December 2020 release, “Apocalypse Blues Revival“. When looking into the background of the band, I was pleasantly surprise to see that this is a side project from two members of three time Emmy nominated band Godsmack’s guitarist Tony Rombola and drummer Shannon Larkin. Godsmack is a metal band that I have always liked, so I was intrigued. Being a blues project, they really got my attention.
Apocalypse Blues Revival is an offshoot from a previous band The Apocalypse Blues Revue which had recorded two previous albums. The Apocalypse Blues Revue was Romola, Larkin, and Brian Carpenter on bass, with Ray Cerbone on vocals. I remember hearing about the project two years ago, but I never investigated the previous two album recordings.
After writing six of the songs for a new album, they realized their new project was on the verge of something great, and they needed just a little bit more. The band replaced Cerbone with Shane Hall for his unique vocals to cap the new sound and complete the vibe.
To be honest, Shane Hall’s vocals are not just vocals, they are unique and grip the listener. I was trying to relate his tone and verbrado, and surprisingly I feel he sounds a lot like Frank Zappa and at times the great Jim Morrison with his cadence. Understand, Hall’s vocals are truly unique and give Apocalypse Blues Revival a great overall fresh sound. With every great blues album, the lead guitar carries the chops of each composition. Rombola, an accomplished metal guitarist, may even be a better blues guitarist. The rhythm section of Larkin and Carpenter are there keeping the beast on the tracks safe from derailment.
I read that the song writers Larkin and Rombola were going for an album like the albums of years past; the 1970s where the listener parks on the coach under their headphones and listens to the tracks from beginning to end. The listener is totally experiencing the writers journey as they interoperate and ingest the music. So, I parked with the headphones on and reviewed the album the same way.
I found some of the tracks very dark, others almost inspirational. One thing is for certain, the interpretation will be a little different for everyone as they reflect their own life experiences. Track one, “Waltz of the Antichrist/Revival” may be the darkest and the music video corresponds to that mood in a psychedelic fashion. “No One Will Miss Me” is a great blues number with strong keyboards. The most remarkable song on the album is “A Gecko (Part 2) The Endless possibility of Water”, a seven minute track that starts out completely different than any track on the record. The first 2:36 of the track is rockabilly which really just grabbed me. Then the song switches to the blues; just genius!
The Apocalypse Blues Revival – Waltz of the Antichrist/Revival (Official Video)
My overall impression is the album is similar to 1970’s music. It’s kind of a cross between Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa but with a heavy blues tones. This is an album that you need to listen to as it’s like nothing you have ever heard before. Put on the headphones and kickback. Journey to places you may have been, or to places you may haven’t experienced yet. Apocalypse Blues Revival has put together a road map to guide you out of the dark.
The Apocalypse Blues Revival – Optimystic (Official Video)
A Gecko (Part 2) The Endless possibility of Water (666 Reprise)
Who is Apocalypse Blues Revival:
TONY “BIGTONE” ROMBOLA – Guitar
SHANNON “APOCALYPSE” LARKIN – Drums
BRIAN “BASSGOD” CARPENTER – Bass
SHANE “BABYBLUE” HALL – Vocals
Photo by Jaimee Alethea Hall
Apocalypse Blues Revival Tracks:
Waltz of the Antichrist/Revival
The Abomination of Desolation
Can’t Shake the Blues
No One Will Miss Me
Written In To The World
Enjoy The Ride
A Gecko (Part 2) The Endless possibility of Water
Photo By Jaimee Alethea Hall
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Freelance Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.