The Apocalypse Blues Revue – Self-titled
12 Tracks; 58 minutes
Grab a seat with a harness and strap yourself in, this is going to be a high-octane fuelled, wild ride. This is what it sounds like when the blues meets the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, whose names are Ray “Rafer” Cerbone, Vocals, Tony “Big Tone” Rombola, guitars, Shannon “Apocalypse” Larkin, drums, and Brian “Bassgod” Carpenter, bass.
Yes the chords structures are based on the blues. Yes, many of the lyrics would be at home in your average 12-bar. Yes the guitar leads hit a lot of notes in the minor pentatonic + 1 “blues” scale.
But that’s where the comparison stops. Actually, it doesn’t so much stop as separate from each other the way a rocket booster falls away while the next stage heads for the cosmos.
You will definitely hear a lot of influences from the late 60s/early 70s here. Shades of Deep Purple, riffs torn from the Pages of Led Zeppelin, a vertical trail up the side of a Mountain.
Each one of these guys is a master as his craft. Powerful, expressive vocals; killer guitar tone and licks; drumming that ranks with the best of Bonham, Moon and Baker, and bass lines that glue them into one tight, exciting band.
The album starts out fairly easily (for these guys) with “Evil Is As Evil Does” but then shifts to a down and dirty 12-bar, filled with rage against “Junkie Hell”. This is not your father’s blues.
Once we’re in hell, however, we get the inside scoop on Be-Beelzebub. Seems the “Devil Plays A Stratocaster” and sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin when he does, except for the vocals, which plays against the screaming howl of the guitar, but with hints of Jack Bruce.
ABR does have their mellower moments. They don’t last long, but they are great transitions. “I Think Not” starts out like a nice mid-tempo blues but gains energy as it goes along, climbing like a F-14 Tomcat.
By now, you can probably guess what a song like “Whiskey In My Coffee” might sound like from this band. And you’d be right. I don’t know whether he prefers Jack, Jim or his Grand-Dad, in his coffee, but it’s enough to make a turkey go wild.
This terrific CD ends by evoking yet another legend. The bonus track, “When The Music’s Over” is an exploration of The Doors. The rhythms are pure Manzarek and I swear Ray Cerbone is actually channeling Jim Morrison.
This is a bunch of musicians at the top of their game. There is not a dud track on the album. Some are better than others, but which ones is a subjective argument. You’ll just have to get this CD and decide for yourself.
If you have any lengthy car trips ahead of you, don’t leave until you get this album, ready and cued up on your car stereo, and get ready to give ‘er. You might just make record time.