Released by: Provogue Records
Release date: 20th July 2018
Ray “Rafer John” Cerbone – Vocals
Tony Rombola – Guitarist
Brian Carpenter – Bass
Shannon Larkin – Drums
1. Open Spaces
2. We are One
3. Hell to Pay
4. Have you Heard?!
5. To Hell with You
6. Nobody Rides for Free
8. What a Way to Go
9. Noumenal Blues
Just shy of two years ago my initial introduction to The Apocalypse Blues Revue came by way of their debut album which got a resounding and well deserved 10/10 from me and is still getting regular play. I suspected that the debut would be a one off from these guys, a project of experimentation but I delight in being mistaken and was thrilled when I heard a new album – “The Shape of Blues to Come” was in the pipeline and due for release late July 2018.
Opening track “Open Spaces” is a suspenseful, building tune which had me hooked right in from the off, demonstrative of musical and vocal brilliance it clearly showcases ‘Rafer John’s’ supercharged set of pipes and is a sure taste of what to expect from the rest of this release.
The lyrics ‘The Shape of Blues to Come’ – reflective of the album title are featured in the spellbinding, guitar spiralling and lengthy “We are One”, an intoxicating blend of blues while “Have you Heard?!” warns that the apocalypse is coming in a way that is so catchy, upbeat and musically exceptional that you will be eagerly awaiting its arrival.
The undoubted highlight of this album for me is the melancholy and musically intricate “What a Way to Go”. Soulful and lamenting, this epitomises the blues and the guitar near the end of the track is nothing short of spectacular.
Signing off is short and sweet with finishing offering “Noumenal Blues” which would not sound at all out of place on the Easyrider soundtrack, that is until the percussion picks up pace and points this tune in an entirely different direction.
I am not sure I could say this was better than the first release, which as I’ve already expressed I was particularly enamoured with, but it may be more definitive and more exclusively a blues record with less alternative musical elements creeping in. Without a doubt it’s an album of top notch material every bit on a par with the debut and undoubtedly another firm favourite with enduring appeal.
It has been stated that ‘The Apocalypse Blues Revue’ is a band which exists separately from ‘Godsmack’ and its as far removed from the style of Godsmack as possible. I am unsure whether Tony Rombola and Shannon Larkin found the blues or the blues found them but I commend their unison and long may it last …
Reviewer: Karen Hetherington