By David Winlo
Billy Talent have always shown a mixture of themes in their lyrics, mainly focusing on relationships, trust and politics, since their 2003 self-titled debut album. As of their 2012 album ‘Dead Silence’ though, the main focus has moved slightly from relationships and trust to politics. This is shown clearly on their new album, right from track one, ‘Big Red Gun’, an anti-gun, anti-Donald Trump song – something I’m sure we can all agree is needed these days.
The album’s central and titular theme, that we as a society should not be afraid of “heights” (in a metaphorical sense, of not limiting ourselves or our efforts to improve ourselves), is effectively conveyed throughout, both through Ben Kowalewicz’s lyrics and singing, and the band’s music. Billy Talent is known for their unique style, which has not been lost here. Fans of Ian D’Sa’s guitar work won’t have to go far on this album to find yet more original riffs, and a fair few interesting guitar solos. Jordan Hastings, drummer of Alexisonfire, also deserves special mention for his excellent work filling in for the band’s usual drummer Aaron Solowuniuk, who was unable to play for the recordings of ‘Afraid of Heights’ due to an MS relapse.
As yet unmentioned highlights include ‘Ghost Ship of Cannibal Rats’, which speaks of class struggle and our unsustainable treatment of the environment, ‘Louder Than the DJ’, which serves as an anthem for rock music, and ‘Leave Them All Behind’, which tells us not to listen to those who tell us what we can’t achieve and instead to let go of our worries of failure and, to put it simply, just go for it. I recommend this one to anybody struggling with an essay in the coming academic year!
Readers who are fans of Billy Talent or their new album may be interested to know they can catch the Canadian punks on Wednesday 12th October this year in the LCR. I look forward to seeing you there.
Image from Billy Talent’s website