Words: Craig Hartranft
After a spin or two of Simple Lies' second album Let It Kill, I've been wondering how successful their first album was. I guess that's because I don't quite know what to make of this album. Overall, I can't imagine myself listening to it anytime in the future. Alternatively, there are some interesting aspects to the Simple Lies sound.
They definitely draw some of their sound from classic melodic hard rock and metal. I'm thinking late Eighties stuff, mostly from some of the groove and gang vocals. You catch this within Freak Show and Miss Anthropy. Then there's the sharp guitars, with lots of big riffage, maybe even slightly d-tuned. Combined with deep bottom end, the guitar lines give Simple Lies a strong heavy metal edge. And they toss in more than few strong solos, always a good thing. As for the vocals, I could take or leave Alessandro Rubino's voice, probably mostly leave. He sings clean and melodic, but he can be a little shrill and screamo at times, sometimes heard to understand. Yet somehow his voice compliments the brisk raw riffage. Mostly, though, I found I liked it when he stopped singing and the instruments played on or a guitar solo erupted.
Then there's the songs themselves. Honestly, some just bored me senseless, couldn't wait for them to end, like Look At Me Now, Past Frames, or Sunday Morning Apologies. Another however, like A-men, can grab you at the start, pull you in, and simply rock out. This song starts with a great groove, brisk riffs, with a lead over top, and then drops down for the bass line to express itself. It's probably one of the best two minutes of this album. Similar, though not one of favorites, is Freak Show where the riffs and drums work in tandem throughout to give the song a marching groove. The aforementioned Miss Anthropy also gets the guitar/bass/drum groove going at the start. This basically carries a song that doesn't have much else going for it other than some catchy phrasing in the refrain.
I guess, in the end, I liked the parts better than the whole. Let It Kill definitely has strong points and moments, not the least of which is the guitar lines throughout. Yet, as a whole, as said earlier, I'm likely not going revisit the album again.
With Let It Kill, Simple Lies borrows from hard rock and heavy metal, both past and present, to create songs and album driven by strong sharp riffs, which in turn are powered by an equally strong rhythm section. Unfortunately, I didn't leave me all that impressed or interested.
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