Album Review: Johnny Wore Black – Walking Underwater
For nearly a year, A Metal State of Mind has been following the progress of dark, melodic, atmospheric, alt rocker Johnny Wore Black. The band’s arrival onto the music scene was a slow and methodical process, but everything is about to be unveiled with the anticipated full-length release of Walking Underwater. The British stuntman turned recording artist has been teasing us with numerous singles and accompanying videos; some of which featured collaborations with Megadeth’s very own bassist David Ellefson. Though our focus is mainly aimed at the delight of metal in its most ruthless forms, an album like Walking Underwater is captivating. It penetrates the core and stirs emotions.
In addition to the four previously released tracks; two of which appear on this debut, the inclusion of eight new songs round out the assortment in splendid fashion. Mostly, the overall atmosphere is dark and melancholic, however, some of the songs such as So Dusted, The Battle, and Cold Water focus on upbeat rhythms and deliver a healthy dose of melody. The introductory song, Different Shades, begins the session with a slow melody that builds up and transitions over the first two-thirds of the song concluding with a heavier rhythm. It provides a measure of hard rock that transitions nicely to the two previously released tracks All The Rage and Up in Flames. Both of these songs continue to provide the elements of rhythmic hard rock and melody that allow the listener’s mind to wander.
One in the Same, What am I, and One Love Song contrast the alt rock appeal of the other songs. They remain consistent with the dose of the dark and melancholic impression of the album, but on a deeper level. The three songs appear in the latter half of the album which allow the work to turn from a strong pace to a more subdued cadence. Outside Looking In closes the album and brings things full-circle with its more sing-along and upbeat tempo; a solid closing for the debut album.
Two of the four teasers I mentioned are featured below for your viewing and sampling pleasure. Up In Flames and All The Rage appear on Walking Underwater (Part 1), the focus of this review. The other two, Noise and Gift of Desperation, are slated to appear on a Part 2 release later this year and can be found on YouTube. All the Rage was the first track released by Johnny Wore Black and was written in support of Help For Heroes, A UK charity to help wounded British military members.
After nearly a year of singles that have tantalized my curiosity, hearing the full work solidifies my opinion that Johnny Wore Black (or Jay as he is called) is an artist to keep an eye on as he emerges out of England as a premier hard rock act. Based on the strength of Walking Underwater, I am eagerly anticipating the 2014 release of Part 2.
For fans of: Tool, A Perfect Circle, Porcupine Tree, Keith Caputo
Release Date: 28 March 2014
Record Label: Dead Cherry
Nationality: United Kingdom