|Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters – ‘Bad Habit’ (Self-Released)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Tuesday, 18 April 2017 04:30|
Rock ‘n’ roll, like most aspects of life, is a difficult business for women. Too often they are judged solely on their looks and not on their ability to get the job done. Sexism is riff in every aspect. While male frontmen have openly flaunted themselves as sex objects, and got away with it, female rock musicians, as some of the Dark Queen’s recent interviews have proven, have to work all that bit harder to get themselves recognized in their own right, and not as objects for us, the male of the species, to letch and leer over. Strong women such as Lita Ford and Doro Pesch, while playing the game in terms of pushing forward their sexual appeal, kicked in the doors for many women artists. More latterly, the likes of Angela Gossow and Lzzy Hale have stood up to be counted and proven that not only can they take the men on at their own game but, more often than not, beat them into a bloodied pulp.
Lzzy Hale is an appropriate name to throw into the mix of this discourse, as she has proven to be a massive influence for Cardiff’s Beth Blade, personally encouraging her to keep move forward and follow her dream of being a serious, kick ass, rock musician. And, with this debut album, Beth has gone a long way towards fulfilling that ambition, as this is the work of a strong and confident artist; an album bursting with energy and delivering a middle finger salute to all the sexist numpties who dare to suggest that the only thing women can do when it comes to rawk ‘n’ roll is be looked at…
Delivering a swift ‘Hell Yeah’, Beth immediately proves that she can get hot ‘n’ sweaty with the best of them, delivering a hard-hitting slice of in-your-face rock action with as catchy a hook as you’ll hear this side of The Amorettes. The title track evokes the punky spirit of The Runaways combined with the pop sensibilities of Paramore and the crunching grooves of Girlschool in their youth, while ‘Beautiful Disease’, complete with its cowbell intro (and, dang, I love a good cowbell thwack), is infectious in its curling dynamism, its main riff wrapping itself around with the grace of a Ferrari sweeping into a long curve.
‘Down And Dirty’ does exactly what it says, lasciviously licking your private parts with its dense intentional groove, before Beth proves she has a softer side with the huge ‘Poster Girl For Pain’: a mellow, slightly fuzzed out guitar underpins her haunting vocal, which speaks from a very obvious personal experience, as the song builds in intensity and then pulls back into dense introspection. It’s definitely one of those songs which lingers in your memory cells for quite some time after listening to it.
The tempo moves up a notch again with the confrontation punk fuck that is ‘This Bitch Bites’: and, don’t argue with Ms Blades, ‘cos she most definitely does and will hold her surname to your throat and demand you dance to her tune. Not that you’ll need any encouragement, as it’s a room stomper of a tune, built on another catchy-as-fuck riff and huge harmony. The lady then proves that she’s ‘Hell In The Heels’: and, boy, she’s grinding them into your groin, with a smile on her face in the process. ‘If You’re Ready To Rock’ Ms Blades most definitely is bringing it to the party with a slice of pure no nonsense anthemic rawk that will get your fist pumping and your voice incoherently singing along: and there’s that wonderful cowbell again, making me click my fingers in time to its beautiful beat.
‘Angel With A Dirty Face’ is the album’s second ballad, and pays more than a passing glance of respect to both Lita and Doro, with Beth’s lusty vocal almost breathless in its delivery as the song builds and then deconstructs itself with its power not clashing with its passion: my only slight quibble is that the guitar is a bit too loud on the chorus, drowning out the vocal. Closer ‘Legends Never Die’ is the only other downbeat note: it’s a throwaway hard rocker of the kind you’ve heard a zillion times before, a bit of a pastiche, and again Beth’s vocals are overwhelmed by the crashing guitar crescendos. Having said that, it has a raw, live feel to it which reflects the energy of what has preceded it.
As I said at the outset, this is a strong, confident album from a strong and confident artist who proves what I have known for a very, very long time: that many of the women performing and working in rock ‘n’f’n’ roll have more balls than all of their male counterparts put together.
‘Bad Habit’ is out now. You can buy your copy HERE.
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