Billy Talent have just released their sixth studio album ‘Crisis Of Faith’ after a long six year stint away from making music, following their energetic compilation ‘Afraid Of Heights’ in 2016.
This is the first album release for the band with Alexisonfire’s Jordan Hastings on drums, following Aaron Solowoniuk’s temporary departure due to further troubles with his multiple sclerosis.
‘Crisis Of Faith’ is an acceptable follow-up to the outstanding previous release, which sees the punk rock foursome experiment with different styles in their music; especially in tracks like the leading single ‘Forgiveness I +II’. The track features a prog rock style riff which almost excels 7 minutes in length, as well as some unusual sax sections – certainly unexpected to say the least! This song could have been just as good and significant, crushed down into a standard 3 minute attempt. In contrast to this, ‘Reckless Paradise’ is a definite sign that the old Billy Talent that we all know and love isn’t planning on going anywhere anytime soon, which an infectious chorus that takes us back to the band’s glory days.
The band also have a guest feature in this album, comprising of the song ‘End Of Me’ featuring Weezer vocalist Rivers Cuomo, which is very average in the grand scheme of things. It would have been more unexpected and thrilling to see them collaborate with an artist that is not so much in their musical wavelength, perhaps in the metalcore scene. It seems as though vocalist Ben Kowalewicz has morphed into the fifth member of Weezer overnight.
Billy Talent are also evidently keen to try and be a shining beam of positivity through this ongoing and insufferable global Covid-19 pandemic, with Kowalewicz singing ‘And you can’t go wrong if your will is strong / Enough under pressure / As time goes on this will get better / This will get better’ in ‘I Beg to Differ (This Will Get Better)’.
There are some clear and evident stand-out songs on the album, including the likes of ‘Judged’, which discusses lyrically the idea of being ‘judged’ for just being yourself in a punchy, infectious 1:39 number. However, they could have really attempted to push the boat out a bit more musically and stretch themselves to their core. It appears as though they are perfectly comfortable with sticking to their standard punk rock formula for now, with a hook filled chorus thrown in for good measure.
Saying that, ‘Crisis Of Faith’ is most certainly not a bad album from Billy Talent by any means, it is just a little underwhelming and expected considering the long hiatus. It sees the band lurch more into the introduction of poppy, radio friendly choruses which is not necessarily the best move they could have made. We really hope that this album isn’t an early sign of Billy Talent going down the same road as their predecessors and vanishing into rock oblivion, keeping up with the current, everyday mainstream artists instead.
‘Crisis Of Faith’ is out now on all major streaming platforms via Spinefarm Records.