Thursday, March 16, 2017

Scott H Biram -- The Bad Testament

Scott H Biram is passionate, to say the least. If you haven't heard his stuff before, I think the best way to describe his music is "bloodcurdling." Biram's committed to the blues, but for the most part his music has the speed and aggression of a heavy metal band. The Bad Testament takes a bit of a left turn, though. There are still plenty of Biram's characteristic freneticism -- "Train Wrecker" is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. But where his previous album, Nothin' But Blood, called to mind a gothic roadhouse, The Bad Testament, reminds me of that X-Files episode with the snake preacher.

The Bad Testament takes on everyone of that ilk, calling to mind what may feel to most an obscure and forgotten chapter of American culture. I'm not sure if those kinds of churches are still around -- they must be -- but Biram's blues stylings take us back to an alternate time and place, where mysticism, moonshine, and rockabilly fermented into a heady mixture of superstition, fear, and self-righteousness. Biram takes on the hypocrisy of these would-be spiritual leaders, with "Swift Drifin'" being one of the finest of a subgenre of what I like to call "I just realized my preacher is a racist piece of shit." The album's closer, "True Religion," is a little more subtle, taking us out on a wave of dark gospel. Curiously, though, Biram taps into his gentler, acoustic side with songs like "Feel So Wrong." It's nice to see Biram's tenderness side amidst the moral outrage. But if you have either one without the other, you're not much good to anyone.

Scott H Biram -- Official, Facebook, Purchase from Bloodshot Records

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