Artist: Billy Talent
Title: Crisis of Faith
Genre: Alternative / Punk / Rock
Release Date: 21st January 2022
Label: Warner Music Group
BILLY TALENT is back. After releasing a few singles in 2019 and 2020 to make the wait for the fans a bit easier, the new album ‘Crisis of Faith’ is released in January 2022. The band took a longer break after touring with their previous album and then the pandemic hit. So, it took some time until the album was finished, but the band always kept in touch with their fans.
The 10-track album starts with ‘Forgiveness I + II’ that was released in 2019 and is kind of experimental especially as an opening track. The song is divided in part one, which is very dynamic has a heavy bass influence and really cool and groovy guitar riffing. The chorus part is almost a contrast to this as it comes with a wonderful and steady melody. BILLY TALENT never holds back with their opinion to things happening around them and have some of their roots in Punk, so make sure that you pay attention to the lyrics, while you give the record a spin in your player.
The second part of the song has wonderful horn elements and a wonderful sax solo that gives the song a jazz touch, the rhythm is smoother but not boring, because the synths give it a wonderful energetic atmosphere. Again, pay attention to the lyrics, that fit the musical atmosphere perfectly. The song is quite experimental for a band who developed a signature sound and style over the year and established a solid fanbase by doing so, over the years. The opening track might be a bit confusing, fi you expect them to open the album with an energetic, straight and cool riffing prone track, but it’s worth listening through and makes you curious what’s coming next on the album.
The kind of track you might have expected as an opener follows suit. ‘Reckless Paradise’ is exactly what BILLY TALENT stands for. The song comes with strong and hard drums, a high dynamic and really cool riffing. Once more, pay attention to the lyrics and you will learn what ‘Crisis of Faith’ means for BILLY TALENT. No more spoilers! If you want to find out, listen to the song, that was already released as a single. From high energy and open criticism towards politics, BILLY TALENT continues the journey to melancholic moments and lyrics that come with lots of feeling and empathy and Ben’s vocals are really fantastic. If you think that BILLY TALENT are only a good mood and party band, this song will show that there is also a very emotional side that some people might find surprising.
Definitely a song that fits the current situation and makes you think and the next song on the album will touch your heart and soul if you are not made from stone. I had to listen to the song twice to grasp all the details as the lyrics and Ben’s highly emotional voice totally took me in when listening to it for the first time. The sound picture drawn around the lyrics is just magnificent and the orchestration really adds to it. “BILLY TALENT and orchestration?” you might think now and imagine the band in their earlier Prog and Punk days, give the song a chance and then make up your mind and think about what the wolf stands for in your life. ‘Reactor’ will wake you from your pensive mood and once more the bass line on this straight forward song is really impressing.
The next song is even harder and more straightforward, not only the really cool sound is Punk, the lyrics are as well and seem to reflect the band’s view on the events that led to the “Black Lives Matter Movement”. From Punk the sound now changes towards a really Funky groove and I admit that I checked if the BILLY TALENT record was still playing and not being interrupted by something else. The style was really not “trademark” BILLY TALENT, but reminded me of an old RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS album I had been listening to not too long ago. Ian later confirmed in an interview that he was a bit worried that people might find the song strange, first attempt. In my books it somehow balances out the record. After some really emotional and slower tracks, their trademark upbeat sound and some true Punk, this song balances out the almost “sharp” contrasts.
The solid Rock song ‘End of Me’ has already been released a while ago and again BILLY TALENT tried an experiment and presented the fans with a collaboration for the first time in the band’s history. Chapeau! The choice of Rivers Cuomo (WEEZER) was the perfect choice. He and Ben perform vocals that give the album a more versatile touch, not only sound wise but also lyric wise. While several songs you already listened to dealt with criticism towards politics and society, this one deals with relationships between humans that not always have a positive influence. The topic of toxic relationships is quite important during times where socializing is not always easy and plenty of rules and obstacles might be in your way. Sound wise, it lacks a bit of dynamic; most of the previous songs perfectly underlined the vocals and the content of the lyrics precisely, ‘End of Me’ somehow seems to pay too much attention on the vocals.
From Rock, the band now turns to a mixture of New Wave elements in the background and a Punk rhythm line with riffing somewhere in between. BILLY TALENT sees you off with ‘For You’ definitely a love song, but not one of the kitschy sorts. You will find amazing guitarwork on this one and a beautiful melody accompanies the lyrics. “Life is nothing but ordinary without you” is also a wonderful message from a band to their fans and so the song was a very good choice to close the album
It took BILLY TALENT a good while to release their new album, but in contrast to a bunch of other bands they really made use of this time. The album is very versatile showing the band’s influences to an extent they never have revealed before. There are fresh ideas like Jazz elements, Funk, Orchestration and many more showing that the band is far from being old, although they are around for a long time. There is a song for those who like the band’s older releases, that are more Punk prone, for those who prefer Rock or the band’s Alternative side. The album will win the band new fans for sure and it’s good to hear and see that a band is ready to give a political statement nowadays. BILLY TALENT shows a more emotional side on this album, there is not only the Punk side, but more personal songs and songs that deal with many aspects of human life. An album that makes you think on the one hand and a welcome distraction from all the bad news on the other hand.
01. Forgiveness I + II
02. Reckless Paradise
03. I Beg to Differ (This Will Get Better)
04. The Wolf
07. Hanging Out With All The Wrong People
08. End of Me (featuring Rivers Cuomo)
09. One Less Problem
10. For You
Benjamin Kowalewicz – lead vocals
Ian D'Sa – guitar
Jonathan Gallant – bass
Jordan Hastings (Aaron Solowoniuk) – drums
Total: 9.5 / 10