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September 29, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Blessed by a Broken Heart – Pedal to the Metal

I don’t know if I should be disgusted by this pointless rehash of the worst of 80s cock rock, or simply mystified. After all, this ‘artwork’ passed through so many hands before it got to me. Songs were written, worked on, performed, recorded, mixed, produced, compiled into an album that was pressed, designed and publicised and finally sent in to the Salient office. So many complicit participants – you’d think that at some point, some brave soul would have said something like:

“Wait a minute guys, why are we doing this? This crap was done and dusted 25 years ago. The grunge movement rendered keytars, double kick drums, twin lead guitars, big hair and bandanas redundant when we were still kids. What can we possibly do to make this stuff relevant, or even listenable? Audiences today are too smart for this shit – come, let’s retreat to a forest with some strong acid and tribal drums to reassess our musical direction.”

But apparently not.

The album exploits nearly every familiar element from the good ol’ days when fucked up rockstars were real fucked up rock stars, and shallow, pretentious pop metal was real shallow, pretentious pop metal. But it doesn’t pull off the conventions with anything resembling even a trace of originality, variety or irony.

It’s not that a band needs to unveil to the world an entirely new way of approaching music every time they produce an album – any great albums have worked within familiar genre boundaries. But when they do they tend to show us a new way of seeing that genre, and present a fresh and unique musical vision within it. Blessed by a Broken Heart don’t manage either of these things; they’re just a straight up carbon copy of any ‘80s metal band. And there’s already enough 80s metal in this world.

I actually did spend a few hours pondering whether this whole thing was a joke, and I’m still not sure. I searched the press release for any sure-fire clue that Pedal to the Metal is intended to be taken ironically, and couldn’t find any – although ‘Blessed by a Broken Heart put the cock back in rock’ may be a hint.

Maybe some metalhead out there who’s still stuck in the 80s will enjoy this, I don’t know. As far as I can see it’s just wish fulfillment for a bunch of guys who wanted to be in Motley Crue when they were 15. And when I need my fix of squealing guitars and stuffed crotches, I’ll be turning to the originals for fulfillment, not Blessed by a Broken Heart.

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