By Monk

Artwork for Mercies And Curses by Waste Down RebelsOur lives are blessed with many mercies. Equally, they are blighted by curses. And thus it is with this, the fourth album from Maryland based guitarist and composer Rick Ayers, which this time sees him teaming up with Lillian Axe vocalist Steve Blaze.

This is very much a curate’s egg of an album. When it’s good… well, it’s good. Just good. In fact, it didn’t really grab my attention until the fifth track, ‘Slave The Day’, which has a decent crunchy riff and a catchy hook. Follow up ‘Fraction Of The Whole’ continues the momentum which previously had been missing on the likes of the extremely bland title track and the over-formulaic ‘Seasons’ , the latter of which literally had  me wishing I needed to go to the toilet…

Just as I say that, along comes ‘Black Hearted Drum’, a well intentioned acoustic-led ballad of the sort White Lion did so much better back in the day. Don’t get me wrong, Blaze’s delivery is exemplary throughout this, and every other song, but I feel that for every song I want to listen to, there’s another I want to skip and see if there is something better coming over the sonic horizon. Unfortunately, on this occasion, despite a few glimmers of sunshine, such as the nu-metal infused chaos of ‘One Minute Closer’ or the punchy anger of ‘The Day We Take Our Own’, our hopes lie dying in the dust.

One of the curses of this album is that it’s too long. Okay, 12 songs is pretty reasonable value for money, a decent bang for your buck, but when they outstay their welcome they end up costing you more of your hard-earned dosh than you care to have invested in the experience.

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