CD Review of Cruel Melody by Black Light Burns

Music Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Buy your copy from Black Light Burns:
Cruel Melody
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: I AM: WOLFPACK Records
Released: 2007
Buy from

Say what you want about Limp Bizkit, but Wes Borland has always been one bad mutha. Perhaps the only member of Bizkit with noticeable talent, he often had fans thinking, “I wonder what a band would sound like with him at the helm?” Well, that curiosity has been answered with his new band (dare I say “supergroup”?), Black Light Burns. Borland has assembled a very impressive studio band (the touring version will have a different lineup, since the studio members are in such high demand), including Nine Inch Nails members Danny Lohner and Josh Freese, and the record is pretty darn good.

It’s a good thing I was patient and didn’t close my mind from the outset, because track one, “Mesopotamia,” is really bad. Based upon it alone I was expecting a messy, industrial, bass-heavy album with embarrassingly bad lyrics. Fortunately things get straightened out quickly, with the likes of “Animal,” “Lie,” (the first single) and the title track. The middle of the record alternates between chill and aggressive before ending on a three-track experimental binge – not the strongest finish I have ever heard. Perhaps Borland thought his listening audience would be suitably stoned by the time they reached the closing track, the instrumental “Iodine Sky.”

The overall sound is diverse and consistently engaging. Borland has taken the best elements of his work with Limp Bizkit and worked in moody industrial tracks that fit right in with old-school Nine Inch Nails. I was fully expecting Borland to try and steal the show with guitar work, but that’s not the case at all. He takes the back seat to bassist Lohner and drummer Freese, both of whom completely wail on this album. Borland’s vocals are good, although he is frequently drowned out by his bandmates. His relatively clean voice fares best on the more aggressive tunes, less so on monotonous songs like “New Hunger.”

Cruel Melody should satiate fans of Borland’s work with Limp Bizkit (there are millions of them hiding in closets worldwide) who like industrial, and even gothic, ingredients in their music. This has been Borland’s brainchild for years, and it is worth the wait for both fans of his previous work and the average genre fan.

~Bill Clark