Album review: JASON BIELER & THE BARON VON BIELSKI ORCHESTRA – Songs For The Apocalypse

JASON BIELER & THE BARON VON BIELSKI ORCHESTRA – Songs For The Apocalypse

Frontiers [Release date 29.01.21]

Jason Bieler scored a winner with hard rockers Saigon Kick (who had a US hit with ‘Love Is On The Way’ in 1991), and since then Jason Bieler has been mixing up styles. Indeed, when asked about the record: “It will NOT be my heaviest record yet, but it will feature a bunch of friends and musicians I love and respect.

It should sound something like if Neurosis got stuck in a blizzard at a Wawa with Supertramp, then Jellyfish showed up and they all decided to do Barry Manilow covers in the style of Meshuggah, but in waltz time with slight country underpinnings, yet accessible for the masses.” So there you go, a veritable potpourri of musical styles to be enjoyed within.

The Baron Von Bielski Orchestra includes many top musicians including Todd La Torre (Queensrÿche), Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), Devin Townsend, Pat Badger (Extreme), Jeff Scott Soto and Bumblefoot (Sons Of Apollo).

After a haunting intro in the form of ‘Never Ending Circle’, the first vocal song arrives ‘Apology’. With Todd La Torre on drums it has a pop melody and vocals over some serious guitar riffs and soloing, courtesy of Andee Balcksugar.

‘Bring Out Your Dead’, despite its title, is an upbeat melodic rocker with an insanely catchy chorus. Devin Townsend and David Ellefson guest on this one. ‘Anthem For Losers’ follows a similar vein, an instant hit on the ears and the use of layered vocals recalls the one album wonders T-Ride.

Skindred’s Benji Webbe guests on ‘Beyond Hope’, adding a nice bit of rap ‘n’ metal to the vocals. The other notable guest vocalist is Jeff Scott Soto on ‘Alone In The World’, another belting melodic pop rocker. Turn this one up!

One of the best songs on the album ‘Very Fine People’ is tucked away at the end of this fifteen song album. Another strong vocal performance from Jason Bieler.

It is way out there musically, yet never disappears up its own musical arse, and every song is rooted in a strong melody. Impressive and more enjoyable on each subsequent play, go on give it a go… ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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