Released by: Self
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Hard Rock
To some of you Kory Clarke may be known as the frontman of Warrior Soul, an American hard rock band, but there is more to him than just being a vocalist. His newest solo-record “Payback’s A Bitch” proves exactly that.
When the album’s first song started blasting out of my headphones, I was pretty sure this was going to be another hard rock record with catchy, kick-ass songs and an air of AC/DC surrounding them. While that holds true for the the first song “Payback’s A Bitch” which together with “Freak” is one of the catchiest songs on this record, I was totally wrong.
Listening to Kory Clarke’s album is a little bit like eating a bag of jelly beans – you never know what you’ll get even if you listen to the songs in chronological order. And just like those jelly beans, you’ll love some songs and maybe not be impressed by others depending on your personal music preference, but you can be sure as hell that you will crave at least one of them.
Kory Clarke wonderfully managed to capture various music styles and reminded me of several different bands. “Freak” for example comes along with a great rhythm, catchy guitar riffs and punky vocals – a little bit like Duff McKagan’s solo album “Believe in Me” in the 90s.
“Devil’s Highway” on the other hand is a very atmospheric song, with interesting drumming and vocals that all in all remind of bands like Disturbed. But after those songs you’re in for a surprise. “What Good Is Goodbye” is completely different – a calm and relaxing ballad – a little bit southern hard rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd or Kid Rock’s newer music. “Get Down to Bizzness” then surprises again with a jazzy feel, saxophone included, a great beat and female backing vocals. Its style reminded me of a mix of Eric Clapton’s “I Shot The Sheriff” and James Brown’s “Living in America”.
Even though you might think you’ve figured the album out by that point – bam! – another unexpected song hits you. “Jaegermeister Machines” starts with a heavy techno-beat, very industrial and, maybe because of the use of two German words, has an air of Rammstein surrounding it.
The next song “Hoezone” still seems a bit industrial but just in the sense that it could be played in underground clubs and if it did, it would probably fill the dancefloor pretty quickly. “Rock N’ Roll Genocide” again switches everything up. I’d personally describe it as Sex Pistols gone U2. It starts out very punky and in your face, then slowly progresses into something more pop-y and occasionally throws in that punk spirit again. Starting with an “I love singing for you guys” the next song “The Last Hand” in my opinion is the most beautiful ballad on this record. Very bluesy, very calm, emerging into Joe Cocker-like vocals and then calming down again and embracing you like a warm blanket under a star-filled sky. “Death And Taxes” breaks that atmosphere again with sleazy vocals and its catchy nature similar to “Freak” and “Rock N’ Roll Genocide” only to then completely astonish you with “Meet Me In Las Vegas”. This mainly with piano and strings written tune has a very honest and vulnerable vibe which makes it a great ending to an album that captures an artist with many facets who’s able to express them musically.
Kory Clarke’s “Payback’s A Bitch” overflows with creativity capturing both classy and modern sounds with songs that, on their own, will be like a good friend accompanying you in every life situation you can imagine, from sad and thoughtful to fun and rebellious, but as a whole might confuse you a bit. Although the record itself doesn’t have a specific style, it still shows variety and talent in every single song and will at least have one song (if not more) that you’ll love for sure.
Written by Anna