Jettblack - 'Disguises'

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Jettblack - 'Disguises'

An interesting album and not what I expected.

Jettblack's fourth album, 'Disguises' sees them mature and get a little edgier. The band could have gone one of two ways; returned to the Stadium Rock style of previous albums, or developed on from their 2013's 'Black Gold' with something heavier and a little different to what they've done before. Gone are the obviously anthemic riffs of their debut and sophomore albums, to be replaced by groove-driven songs and heavier guitar parts.

'Slaves' drops you in at the deep end of this new, almost dark edge that the Bucks-based Rockers are going for. 'Explode' captures the element of experimentation with an A Cappella opening backed by clapping. The middle tracks of the album like 'Poison Rain', the title track and 'Broken Bones' are not without their good points but aren't strong and aren't particularly catchy.

'Black And White' is more toned down but the guitar has a beautiful, haunting melody. Sometimes it feels like the vocals are searching for a note rather than hitting and manipulating them. 'Kick In The Teeth' brings back the pace, giving the album a bit more direction. The driving riffs feel more like the 'Get Your Hands Dirty'-era Jettblack (from 2010) and they still do it so well. Sometimes there's a feeling that the album lacks a certain emotion and electricity, almost as if the band are holding back or not loose and really into the song. 'Enemy' is more emotive and more of this same passion and energy would have been a boost to the album. The playing with the rhythm throughout only generates more interest and the strong beat is great for thudding along to.

There's no let up from here. 'Human' is straight in with a kicking beat and a solid, heavy riff you can really get into. The high-toned guitar over the bass is positively Sixx:A.M.-esque. The vocals are possibly the only let-down; they tend to take on a similar vein in each song, contrasting a low, clear sound with a higher, screechy tone. In the higher register, they often lose the melody so end up sounding the same. Not always, but you get the idea.

An interesting album and not what I expected. Jettblack seem to have gone a little out on the limb and come out more definitive in places, heavier in others, not so catchy sometimes and with a new dose of attitude elsewhere. All slammed together though, and in the midst of Jettblack's fairly well-scoring discography, it all comes out as somewhat mediocre.

Sophie Brownlee

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