The Black Halos - Alive Without Control (Cover Artwork)

The Black Halos

The Black Halos: Alive Without ControlAlive Without Control (2005)
Century Media

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: Sliced-TSliced-T
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's been four years since the Black Halos released The Violent Years. In 2001, just when the band was quickly gaining notoriety, Rick Jones (widely recognized as the main songwriter) left the band in a move that so surprised and shocked the rest of the group that they almost instantly disintegrated.
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It's been four years since the Black Halos released The Violent Years. In 2001, just when the band was quickly gaining notoriety, Rick Jones (widely recognized as the main songwriter) left the band in a move that so surprised and shocked the rest of the group that they almost instantly disintegrated and disbanded.

Just over a year later, it would seem that the Black Halos was still in most everyone's blood and the band began jamming again. Not everyone came back though. Bassist Matt Camirand was lost to his newly formed and sweetly depressing country group, Blood Meridian. Those two open positions cycled through a few times while touring the new material before settling on Adam Becvare and Denyss McKnight for the long-awaited and highly anticipated new recording.

So here we are in the two thousand and five and the Black Halos have finally released their third album, Alive Without Control, via notable hard rock label, Liquor & Poker Music. Just like "Shooting Stars" on their debut and "Some Things Never Fall" off of the Violent Years, Alive Without Control starts off with "Three Sheets to the Wind," a blistering first track that is so catchy, so energetic and so ferocious that it clutches your attention and you won't want to take it back. Vocalist Billy Hopeless is just roaring with razor blades and phlegm flying out of his throat with all the anger and urgency he can muster. It would appear to me that in the last 4 years Billy's been downing a lot of hard alcohol and smoking a lot of cigarettes, because dude's voice has reached all new levels of throaty.

Throughout the rest of the record it is apparent that the band has not missed a beat since the departure of Rick Jones, and proves that they can get along fine without him. Alive Without Control is more of the same New York Dolls meets Dead Boys meets Buzzcocks sound found on their previous two albums. The production is more glossed than before with a very crisp sound and dashes of studio effects here and there. I don't know what the deal is with the backup vocals are, though. It sounds like Billy is the only one with any passion while everyone else is just sort of...there.

For the most part, Alive Without Control is a fairly strong album with some really great songs and a few welcome surprises. "Mirrorman" could pass as Leonard Cohen in a hard rock band and the title track slides along with a pounding piano in the mix. The thing is, I wish someone talked the Black Halos out of releasing an album of this length. The whole thing is about 10 minutes too long. Some of the weaker tracks like "Last Call at the Toothless Saloon," "Studio Suffering," and "Third World USA" should have all been tossed into the B-sides bin. These songs really do the album a disservice and have a tendency to make the 45-minute record an unnecessarily exhausting experience. Sometimes knowing where to cut the fat can mean all the difference between a good album and a great album.

Three Sheets to The Wind

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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.
timo_c (February 8, 2007)

don't judge a book by it's cover, great music

Anonymous (March 18, 2006)

I liked one of their songs so I downloaded this but I haven't listened to it because I somehow can't bring myself to listen to something with that kind of cover art.

Anonymous (December 27, 2005)

well well well duanne peters thinks were great and social distortion seem to like us as well as the queers and ah fuck it lets just say if were ever judged i dont care what anyone else thinks i love our band and it seems allot of my heroes dig us too .
Billy Hopeless

Anonymous (December 23, 2005)

It's pretty much a given that they are all cooler than you.

GreenVandal (December 23, 2005)

I'm not going to lower myself to listen to a band that would actually use that as their cover art. How much cooler could they look?

Anonymous (December 21, 2005)

never got into one man army, saw them once, incredible show! but i will be buying this album

Anonymous (December 20, 2005)

one of my favourite ongoing bands that will probably be considered legendary some day after there all dead ! Three albums and they just keep getting better i await #4

Anonymous (December 20, 2005)

'Alive Without Control' West Coast 2006 Tour

Vancouver's notorious punks The Black Halos are proud to announce their 'Alive Without Control' West Coast Tour. In January, the monochrome rockers will blast their way down to California. Highlights include joining forces with the legendary Social Distortion(January 6) then pushing onward to Los Angeles where they/'ll be joined by the Ladykillers and finally heading back north to headline a string of shows in Washington and British Columbia.

This west coast stint is in support of their critically acclaimed 3rd release "Alive Without Control"(Century Media/Liquor & Poker Records). Their newly released video "Three Sheets to the Wind" has found love on such stations as MuchMusic and MuchLoud.

Thurs. Jan 5 - SF, CA @Grant & Green
w/American Heartbreak
Fri. Jan 6 - Anaheim, CA @House of Blues
Sat. Jan 7 - Huntington Beach @The Brigg w/Lady Killers
Sun. Jan 8 - Hollywood @Knitting Factory w/Lady Killers
Mon. Jan 9- Sacremento, CA TDB
Tues. Jan 10 - Olympia, WA @The Manium (All Ages)
Wed. Jan 11 - Bellingham, WA @Up N Up Tavern
Fri. Jan 13 - Vancouver, BC @Media Club
Sat. Jan 14 - Kelowna, BC @OKM Hall
Sun. Jan 15 - Whistler, BC @Boot Pub
Wed. Jan 18 - Nanaimo, BC @Queens
Thurs. Jan 19 - Victoria, BC @Logans
Sat . Jan 21st - Seattle, WA @El Corazon
w/ Hollowpoints and Problem Child

Hot off the press is the new Warcon Christmas compilation "A Taste of Christmas" with the Black Halos sneering holiday track "Homeless for Christmas". This compilation includes

other seasonal favorites from: Street Drum Corps feat: Bert McCracken, The Used, From First to Last, Emery, Bleed the Dream, Funeral For a Friend and many more.

This past year saw the Halos sharing the stage with The New York Dolls, The Avengers, The Queers, The Die Hunns(feat. Duane Peters & Corey Parks)The River City Rebels, The Bones(Sweden), Kings of Nuthin, Angel City Outcasts and the Illuminati.

Other frenzied activity has the boys in black writing new material and planning their Spring 2006 European tour which will have them playing 40 shows in 7 weeks.

For interview requests please email publicity@blackhalos.net


Anonymous (December 20, 2005)

oh. well..nevermind.

Anonymous (December 20, 2005)

Nope guy below. That is not correct.

Anonymous (December 20, 2005)

Isn't liquor and poker records the bands own label? Meaning its not a very notable hard rock label.

Anonymous (December 20, 2005)

Amen sickboi, i miss one man army, i thought they never got the attention they deserved. -oldpunker-

sickboi (December 20, 2005)

I discovered this band through one of the Madden games a few years ago, the song "Some Things Never Fall".

Not bad, but listen to One Man Army. They did it 1000x better.

AlmostPunkEnough (December 20, 2005)

i've liked all the songs i've heard by them. i'll definitley have to check this album out.

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