This is the type of thing that I was hoping for after I first heard King a while back. That pop rock scary monster vibe put me in mind of MM and Alice Cooper and at the same time said “This Girl Can”. So I thought, great, this will be fun. There were videos made to support the hype. Eerie little Jallo Tik Tocs of what was clearly going to be the albums intro (Poem) and then a big grandstanding clatter of NIN guitars and drums.
That snippet of rumpus turns out to have been the intro to Feed My Chaos. The glam rocker in goth clobber opener to Created From Filth And Dust. The full reveal in the reinvention of a rock and roller. Before we got the whole album though there was a side quest. Second single Lola was not like King. It was not like the snippet of Feed My Chaos either. Sure the image remained. However Lola was AOR and no mistake. Airburshed, presentable, smoothed for minimum resistance. Take the video away and it could have been Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry or Lady Gaga (I’ll say it again, there’s no insult there) doing one of their ‘move away from the EDM’ moments. If you re-examine King in Lola’s light there’s more Ellen Foley than Siouxsie Sue. It’s like buying a bottle of hot sauce with a skull and flames on the label and pouring out Cesar Dressing (That’ll be my stage name if I reinvent myself as all black goth horror show imagery and turn up and make balloon animals). I like Cesar dressing (possibly more than I like hot sauce) so I’m not disappointed.
I’m also aware there’s a whole scene and ulterior motive going on. The video budgets and wig swapping are telling me there’s something else driving things here. Sumerian Records who have Lilith in their roster of artists are responsible for that over stylised over dressed pop rock scene the features Black Veil Brides, Asking Alexandria and Palaye Royale. I’m no huge fan of any of those bands. I’ve always suspected a style over content element to what I’ve heard so far. Not hating, just not won over. Is it possible Juliet/Lilith just caught my eye because the image spoke louder than the guitars? I’d like to think not. I like my pop rock well enough.
There’s a TV show called Paradise City in which Juliet/Lilith plays the singer in fictional rock band The Mavens (now That’s a theme week I should do. I love fictional rock bands soooo much) It’s set in a world where a band made up of Sumerian Record’s musos are trapped in a Faustian deal. It’s as if some people don’t consider Sammy Curr, Trick Or Treat and the accompanying Fastway album the definitive work of art on this matter. I haven’t seen the show, but I’m not against it. I haven’t seen the movie it’s a spin off from either. I’m sure I’ll get round to it but something is putting me off seeking it out and I can’t finger what that might be.
Feed My Chaos is loud, shouty, chanty but still pop rock to it’s core. I like it a lot. The Alice Cooper, Meatloaf, Mötley Crüe, Kiss comparisons all still work. There’s a fair whack of Halestorm, Nita Strauss and Evanescence to (platform) boot. Czar belts it out in places, lowers her range to almost just speak in other parts, all the while big drums flair their fills and power chords rain all around. It’s a good time. Of all the comparisons above it’s Revenge era Kiss that it reminds me of the most. I’m all for some of that. In the last minute a quiet/loud break down ups the theatrics. Oh stop trying to categorise it. This is rock music. As intended.
The albums got some solid pop rock moments. Feed My Chaos is one of it’s stompiest and most affecting. Track titles like Anarchy could be accused of putting a strain on the credibility when they’re musically staying well within the mainstream rock lane. And yet with the spoken word section and its “The revolution begins tonight” sentiment I can’t really call it a wolf in sheep clothing either. Maybe it’s just that Anarchy is less abrasive than it used to be. 100 Little Deaths has a rollicking chant of a chorus. Interestingly in the context of the album it’s also credited to Juliet Simm not her new persona. If you watch the video it’s kind of a Luke Skywalker Empire Strikes Back dream sequence punch up if Luke were a rock chick and the movie were directed by Quentin Tarantino. Juliet does battle with Lilith. It was foretold. YouTube is playing the part of the Sacred Texts here. The blonde wig is back on for Lola. I feel we’ve got this one covered.
And that’s side one done. Yep, I got it on vinyl, moon phase coloured white and black vinyl at that. What happens next is both a surprize and perhaps the albums boldest move. No fronts no tricks, Lilith straight up covers Stevie Nicks massive watershed AOR hit Edge Of Seventeen. Poker face serious she doesn’t spin it, she pays homage to a rock Queen and she ascends. It’s so close to the original you kinda have ta wundah! Maybe that is the point though. Hey kids. Check this out! And that’s it a door left ajar… The light on the inside, the Gold Dust Woman, Classic Rock. It all just fell together in a way only the most cynical heart could sneer at.
After that, Bad Love (again credited to Simm not Czar), In My Head and another Revenge era Kiss reference in Unholy (but not that one) all bring it on home, just before mega ballad Diamonds To Dust crowns the whole affair on an emotional high/low of lush strings and theatrical power grabs.
There’s clearly a crack in the black mirror of Lilith Czar and Juliet Simms. The reference points all over her rebirth/debut album are at least a generation old. She’s offering herself as ruler to strengthen the young rock fans allegiance with the past. All the kids have to do is accept her as their King.