DESIRE BLACK – Last Call For Decadence

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Excalibur Records

Release Date: Out Now
by: DAN ‘SOFT BOY’ SKIBA
Email: SoftBoy (at) MetalExpressRadio.com

Desire Black is essentially a one-man band out of New Jersey, USA. The one man is Jimmy Matheos, and his Desire Black project released its debut album entitled Last Call For Decadence. Matheos gets a little help with the drums from Eddie Blade in about half of the 10 tracks on this album, but other than that, Matheos handles the guitars, bass, drums, and vocals in all of the songs … and of course he’s responsible for the song scripts.

Elapsing less than 28 total minutes, Matheos philosophy and approach to songwriting is obviously to jump into a track feet first, make the statement he wants to make, and then to get the hell out before the song has any chance of getting repetitive or boring (anyone like The Ramones?). Stylistically, Last Call For Decadence has a fairly unique personality … its roots are clearly hard core Punk based, a la The Sex Pistols, but the guitar sound, especially, has periodic Metal tendencies, at times in the vein of Motley Crue’s Too Fast For Love, at other times similar to The Scorpions’ Lovedrive and Animal Magnetism. The 4th track, “Puke Til You Vomit,” for instance, has a fresh-sounding guitar riff intro very similar to “Falling In Love” by The Scorpions.

Overall, this is a really odd CD in that it is totally awful at certain junctures and totally awesome at others. Of the 10 tracks, 9 of them start out with absolute KILLER opening riffs that get at it right away and plug and chug. Matheos’ style is to start the lyrics shortly after these opening riffs … and then never quit with the verbal assaults until the end of each track. Matheos has a lot to say, and a short time in which to say it, so the lyrics have a tendency to discombobulate themselves out of sync with the music, and those awesome riffs kind of get lost in the shuffle. Too bad …

Production-wise, some of the tracks are pretty well polished and smooth, like “Slam (Motherfucker Slam),” and “Puke Til You Vomit,” while others, such as “You’re In Control” and “Bleed My Lips,” seem like they were recorded at an earlier time or with inferior equipment, because the vocals are distant and the drums sound hollow and lack “umph.” Solid and constant production quality across all instruments would have served this album well … what is consistent throughout all of the songs, however, is the guitar sound, which comes through great in each track.

The true highlight of Last Call For Decadence is most certainly the lyrics. Matheos is beyond blunt and direct in his quest to convey the fact that he’s pissed off by virtually everything, knows he’s a dumb ass in the mold of Beavis and Butthead, and thinks everyone else is too in their respective capacities. The language is extremely explicit, but refreshingly honest and, oddly, “natural” for Desire Black’s musical style. If anything, Matheos is exceptionally successful in conveying his message and attitude via very simple language, many times in a quasi-humorous way. A few examples:

From the “Intro (My Way Is Better)” track: “I Could Calm Down / I Could Write A Letter / I Could Make Peace / But My Way Is Better / Fuck You, My Way Is Better”,
From the “Slam …” track: “What Did You Learn In School Today / Redemption Is So Far Away / So Let’s Drink Up Like A Kennedy”, and
From the only “dreamy” and melancholy track, “Irish Eyes”: “I Close My Eyes With A Graceful Tear / It Wouldn’t Hurt So Much / If It Didn’t Hurt So Much.

Pretty good stuff … we’ve all encountered a lot worse, that’s for sure.

Anyway, Last Call For Decadence is certainly an interesting listen … it’s also not for everyone, but if you have a soft spot for Punk Metal, and aren’t afraid to give something totally different, if not bizarre, a chance, this might end up being a gem for your music collection. Matheos loses points for inconsistent production quality and for letting all of those great openings hang out to dry, but he shows periodic signs of brilliance and creativity, along with a highly entertaining lyrical approach, assuming, of course, that you’re not offended by periodic harsh profanity.

REPORT CARD:
Guitars: B
Bass: C
Percussion: C-
Vocals: C
Lyrics: A-
Recording Quality: C-
Originality: A-
Overall Rating: C
Release Date: Second Half of 2004
Web site: www.DesireBlack.com

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