This year I was so psyched! I am a big horror punk fan. There are three bands I really, really enjoy. Calabrese is one of those bands. I’ve followed this hard working band since their second album and have enjoyed each and every release so far. I had no problem following them in their development from their campy horror punk approach of old to the more sophisticated albums that were to follow. Their previous album Lust For Sacrilege reminded me a bit of Danzig’s fourth album, with some Sisters Of Mercy and Joy Division influences to booth. That was four years ago. It has been quiet since then. But this year new videos were coming in, building up the tension to the release of the new album. I decided to not check those videos, no matter how intrigued I was. A video for each song of the album, that is pretty ambitious. I, however, am an album man. So I waited. I was sure this was going to end up in my top three for this year, as the previous albums did.
The fact that it took me three months to write this review should tell you something about how the music matched my expectations. It didn’t. And it took me three months to figure out what went wrong. Your first impression of the album could be: oh, this is in line with Lust For Sacrilege, I should enjoy this. But the pure joy that I experienced and still enjoy listening to that album are absent.
Let’s compare this album to Lust For Sacrilege. What stayed are the keyboards and post-punk influences. There are still a couple of punk-oriented songs, but overall the tempo on this album is slightly lower and the choruses are a little less anthemic. And that last bit is where things go wrong for me, because that anthemic feel with huge choruses is what I dig most about horror punk. This might also explain why I miss the first two albums when I listen to Flee The Light. This is really strange, as Calabrese has evolved a lot since then. Flee The Light has much more in common with Lust For Sacrilege, their previous album. Yet, it is their first two albums that I long for listening to this album. Has the band drifted to far from their roots for me to follow? Listening to this album objectively (is that really possible) I hear it is well constructed, but subjectively it just doesn’t hit me as hard as it should. My struggle to figure why that is continues. To quote a famous, much used line (slightly altered to fit the situation): is it me, or is it them?
I started listening to this album expecting it to end up in my top three of this year. It doesn’t make it that far. It is not a bad album though, and I am sure it will end up in my top 25. Where on that list I am not sure, but it will be included. There’s too much quality to enjoy here to exclude it from that. Yeah, I was disappointed during my first spins of the album, and still am every now and then. I can’t help myself wondering what this album could have been like. You’ve got yourself to blame for that, Calabrese, with a discography like yours! I’ll start looking forward to album eight now, don’t let me wait for another four years, please?
7.5 / 10
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