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Balzac - Beyond The Darkness (Cover Artwork)

Balzac

Balzac: Beyond The DarknessBeyond The Darkness (2003)
Rykodisc

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: jamespastepunkjamespastepunk
(others by this writer | submit your own)

*Deep beneath the swamps of Jersey, scientists mill frantically around a patient who hasn't long to live.* Scientist #1: Well, the corpse of the Misfits has been defiled by just about everything imaginable. What's left of the flesh is covered in their own Misfits brand piercings. See those green .
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*Deep beneath the swamps of Jersey, scientists mill frantically around a patient who hasn't long to live.*

Scientist #1: Well, the corpse of the Misfits has been defiled by just about everything imaginable. What's left of the flesh is covered in their own Misfits brand piercings. See those green spots? Looks like it was suffering cashcow-itis before it finally croaked.

Scientist #2: But we need him more than ever! How will we survive?

Scientist #1: Well, I say we all get drunk, because I'm all out of ideas.

*Scientist #3 runs breathless into the room*

Scientist #2: *excited* Well? What's the news?

Scientist #3: There's good news and bad news. The good news is that I just saved 15% on my car insurance. The bad news is that the data is right. It's on the deathbed, and all the tests come out negative.

Scientist #2: Freeman, this is no time for jokes!

Scientist #3: On the off chance that a fresh pair of eyes will make a difference, I brought a friend of mine over from Japan. It's a long shot, but Goddamnit, we have to try.

Scientist #1: Does that mean I have to stop drinking?

Scientist #2: Have you ever? Bring him in!

*in walks a Japanese scientist, who walks over to the table, and is handed the clipboard by Scientist #1, now into his second beer. Pausing for a moment, after reviewing the clipboard's contents, the Japanese scientist speaks*

Japanese Scientist: Do you have any Undertones DNA?

Scientist #3: We do. Why do you ask?

Japanese Scientist: Because if you can procure some Ramones DNA and some Undertones DNA, I think some of my country's specialists can help him. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.

Scientist #1: No joke?

Japanese Scientist: I am as serious as a -- how do you say? Heart attack.

Scientist #1: Hot damn! Hank, don't let me down. Get the boys on the horn, tell them we need this stuff stap.

Scientist #2: Yessir!

*Twenty-four hours and the next flight from New York to Osaka later*

Scientist #1: Wow. Swanky digs.

Scientist #2: You don't say. This place is state of the art. Is that one of those new "woah-oh-oh" machines? Even the boys down at Vtech don't have that.

Scientist #3: Some of the guitar tones here are good enough to rival those in the States. So lemme wrap my head around the operation: We're going to take the corpse of the Misfits, inject some Ramones, Undertones, put some Cramps over the more diseased splotches, and then turn on the electricity?

Japanese scientist: More or less, Gordon.

Scientist #2: This was pretty desperate, wasn't it, Frink?

Scientist #1: Damn right, McCoy, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Scientist #2: I secretly added a little Bouncing Souls to the woah-oh-oh machine, just to fortify it.

Scientist #3: Good thinking. We can't be too careful.

*in walks more Japanese scientists*

Scientist #1: Well? How'd it go?

Japanese Scientist #2: Well, it's a complete success. He's alive, and moving around quite well. My colleagues and I have taken to calling him Balzac.

*cue eerie theme music, dark voice over*

Voiceover: And, thus, out of the city of Osaka comes Balzac, ready to grip the world in its dark madness. Or something.

As for the music contained on the CD, there's nothing to say except it is of conspicuously high quality. As for the packaging, I can understand a short insert, but the label and group was pitifully shortsighted not including a lyric sheet anywhere in the CD. According to allmusic.com, Beyond The Darkness contains re-recordings of selections from 5 previous Balzac full-lengths, or in layman's terms, Balzac's Ten Years And Running. It's a Japanese group, singing in English, sent over to USA. You'd think someone would have thought about a lyric sheet, but I guess not. Unlike Brain Failure's American Dreamer, words are critical, and their absence just frustrates listeners.

There is a bonus DVD that comes with the CD, and it really is a bonus DVD, just 4 music videos and the making of the CD. Unfortunately, what had the potential to be a highly commendable bonus just ends up being solid because of lack of foresight. The "making of" is brief, but there's also no subtitles, and almost no one speaks in front of the camera. Thus, watching a bunch of guys grinding out songs in the studio gets boring quick with no point of reference or any idea what's going on except "They're tracking drums now." All the videos are more or less professional quality, and the live video needs no translation whatsoever, because the footage gets the message across: Balzac shreds live.

I'm hung up on the little things so much because I enjoy the CD. It's solid and excels musically in a genre where the hallmark is mindless fun. Balzac combine both for a CD that has neither filler or fluff, and is thus worth your attention (and patience) as you search through those fansites, desperately looking for lyrics to the song you think you're singing along to.

I love this CD, I really do, but I can't give it more than a 7 with a straight face. Had the lyric sheet been here, had more attention and care been paid to the DVD, had more time been put in on thisā?¦in this case, it all adds up to woulda shoulda coulda.

Regardless, Balzac's Beyond The Darkness is well worth whatever investment you make at the store up until $20, and worth the time investment of listening.

Some links that might be of service are:

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Descendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Clash - London CallingThe Misfits - Static AgeDefiance, Ohio - The Great DepressionAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldDead to Me - Cuban BallerinaBouncing Souls - The Gold Record

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
horrorpunx610 (April 20, 2011)

I can't say I dissagree with the lack of lyric inserts and DVD material, but the ACTUAL ALBUM itself just kicks major ass. You can't review an album judging by it's lyric sheets and bonus DVD, after all it's the music that really counts (and why you should buy it in the first place). If anyone is really that concerned with what the lyrics are, then look them up ealsewhere if you have to.

Anonymous (July 19, 2005)

score is for naming your band after a french writer.

Anonymous (July 18, 2005)

Gauze > Balzac...or any other japenese band...or how about any band period. Thank you

Anonymous (July 17, 2005)

this score is for Alan Rickman

Anonymous (July 16, 2005)

Yay the Japans answer to the misfits! dam the Japanese are great muscians.

Anonymous (July 16, 2005)

These guys were on a Sound-Pollution Comp CD. That in itself is totally amazing to me. 'Cause the first thing I want to listen to after some good Misfits worship is Hellnation.

-ken

Anonymous (July 16, 2005)

I saw a DVD with these guys doing (unintentionally) hilarious Misfits covers. I can't remember what the DVD was, but it may have been from the Project 1950 thing. "Don't Open 'Til Doomsday" was the best.

potshotrocker (July 15, 2005)

yeah balzac rules, but for japanese bands potshots even better

jamespastepunk (July 15, 2005)

I thought the DVD was fantastic (years ago when this came out), it has live videos, studio footage, and a number of music videos. It's a fucking bonus, what were you looking for, three free live sets? Definitely adds another $10 to the value.

Lyric sheet? I don't need lyrics to understand "whoaaaaaaaa."

Come now, don't be lazy AND picky when the album is completely overflowing with bonuses, extras, and quality.

1) I was looking for subtitles or some way to understand what's going on in the videos. Okay, so there's a bunch of bonus material, but if the target audience has no idea what the hell is going on in any of those videos, what's the point?

2) Lyric sheets are important. Especially so when youre group is from another country trying to sing in English. Additionally, this is the groups first CD over in the US, to my knowledge, so I would have thought Misfits Records would have spent the time and money making this package buletproof.

3) If I was being lazy I would have given this an 8,overlooked the glaring holes for anyone who actually wants to buy this CD, and said I LOVE THIS CD OMGKTHKSBAII!!

ElVaquero (July 15, 2005)

I thought the DVD was fantastic (years ago when this came out), it has live videos, studio footage, and a number of music videos. It's a fucking bonus, what were you looking for, three free live sets? Definitely adds another $10 to the value.

Lyric sheet? I don't need lyrics to understand "whoaaaaaaaa."

Come now, don't be lazy AND picky when the album is completely overflowing with bonuses, extras, and quality.

jamespastepunk (July 15, 2005)

day the earth caught on fire with the misfits is a cool song but i dont know if the song's on this

Both a live version and studio version appear on this CD.

SkolarX (July 15, 2005)

never mind the one i have is this one

SkolarX (July 15, 2005)

i liked their last album, this one might be interesting

Karasu (July 15, 2005)

Eff this. Dir en grey.... Dir en grey.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

day the earth caught on fire with the misfits is a cool song but i dont know if the song's on this

Kenjamin (July 15, 2005)

japan is home to some of the best hardcore in the world right now.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

balzac is really not that good other than them being from japan which maybe a novelty to some.

aubin (July 15, 2005)

I really dug the review; nice work.

tristan (July 15, 2005)

Nice writing, but this is one of the worst albums I've ever heard. And enduring the DVD was on par with what I imagine giving yourself a vasectomy would feel like. Just awful.

Anonymous (July 15, 2005)

woah, that was awesome. score is for the review. nice work.

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