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08 January, 2015

The Blackmail Seduction - War At Home

The Blackmail Seduction - War At Home (song review) |The Rocks Recordworks, The Blackmail Seduction, 2013| 5/5 hard rock/alt-rock

The Blackmail Seduction quartet writes music in two American cities - Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Their self-titled debut album includes 7 tracks and ends with a memorable hard rock ballad, "War At Home".

Home should be, by definition, a safe place filled with positive atmosphere which allows for resting and enjoying one's space. On the surface, this track seems to speak of a frustrating situation when there's a home war between family members. However, the subjects are not specified in the song, meaning the 'war' could easily represent any personal struggle.

Musically, "War At Home" begins with a stimulating combo built from the bass (Mike Mennell), guitars (Troy Hardy, Jess McClellan) and subdued drums (Blair Sinta). These are then joined by rather high sounding vocals by Jess McClellan. Listeners will definitely pay attention to very well written arrangements which leave enough space for both vocal and instrumental parts. The chorus however, is kept in a brighter alt-rock tune thanks to vocals, yet it is still supported with heavier hard rock arrangements in the background.

At times, the aforementioned instrumental parts break away from the vocals which is always a desired method of building a mood. Previously heard verse-chorus arrangements repeat, but they are then followed by a new addition - a soloing lead guitar backed with non-distracting keyboards (both by Hardy). It is an epic solution making the likes of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple so touching since such composition opens up space for listeners' imagination to roam free. A 'crying' guitar adds a strong and emotional accent to these arrangements. Thus, the mood takes over thanks to a very beautiful yet powerful part of the song which hard rock fans will truly admire.
The track's final part sounds very professional, with the guitar and keyboard having the last word in the composition.

When it comes to production, it's kept on not so clean or deep but rather 'analogue' levels, quite typical for 70s hard rock music due to the gear used back then. Apparently, the band also prefers this style, though to me a deeper dimension & cleaner sound could have been utilized as well to make the best of modern mixing consoles.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, January 6th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)



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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine