Black Light Burns
Well, it happened again. When nobody was looking, Wes Borland went and formed a supergroup (of sorts), christened it Black Light Burns, and cut an album: Cruel Melody. Some people just refuse to go gentle into that good night.
From the get-go, however, it becomes obvious that this is not a cut-and-dry nu-metal disc…eventually it becomes painfully obvious. You see, Borland actually sings in this band, a relatively new duty for him, and the results are…meh.
It’s not that the former Limp Bizkit axman is all that bad of a vocalist…he’s definitely not as annoying as Fred Durst—but then again, the same could be said for herpes. But he’s just not interesting. He lacks the idiosyncrasies of a Jonathan Davis, or the raw, terrifying, sexuality of a Trent Reznor, whose style he particularly attempts to cop. Primarily for those reasons, he can’t hang with the good songs (“Mesopotamia,” “Cruel Melody,” “New Hunger”) or save the bad ones (everything else).
He’s no Dylan Thomas, either. With lyrics like “there’s a blood clot in my heart/I’m pushing it out/but can’t seem to make it start,” most of the tracks come across like the pitiful attempts of a 16-year-old to sound like Neil Gaiman.
At least Borland has the good sense to surround himself with competent musicians. Josh Freese, of The Vandals, NIN, and A Perfect Circle, bombards his kit like Godzilla on a metronome: pissed-off, but steady. Danny Lohner, Freese’s sometimes band mate, helps out Borland with the drop-tuned riffs, adding several layers of heaviness to the already weighty mix.
While it may not be saying much, Cruel Melody is the best thing that Borland has done in his career, bar none. What it lacks in substance and originality, it partially makes up for in being casually listenable. Throw the guy a bone and give it a shot.