Black Rose, 'Want Your Love' - Song Review
Who the Hell are Black Rose?
Black Rose is a Heavy Metal band from Middleshire, not Undershire, England. They started off as a punk band called Ice in 1976, but in 1981 they said fuck this punk shit, and released a heavy metal demo as Black Rose. They put out two albums and two eps, but in 87' they said fuck this NWOBHM shit and split up. Fortunately, in 2003 they said fuck this retirement shit and got back together and released two albums. It sounds complicated but it isn't if you just disregard it and listen to the music.
What the hell is NWOBHM?
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was the period from the early 70's to the mid 80's where a lot of heavy metal bands started emerging from eastern Europe. Some of the most popular were Iron Maiden and Judas Priest from Britain, Grim Reaper from Britain, and Venom.
Also from Britain.
There's a reason why it was called the New Wave of British Heavy Metal despite spanning all of fucking Europe.
However, NWOBHM is famous for one thing...
Fast melodic riffing.
NWOBHM songs are so ripe with solos, squeals, and riffs you would be guaranteed to become Steve Vai if you learned all of the ones on any given album.
That and Europeans swooning in broken and incoherent English.
Why Should I Care?
You know what? Get out. You see that 'X' in the top right corner? Click it. Go listen to Madonna or Lady Gaga or something. As for us, we're going to listen to one of the best NWOBHM songs of all time.
Enough misused Kanye memes, let's get into the song. And before we start if you're going to listen to the song, Youtube only has the 1987 version. So, I've taken the liberty of uploading the remastered version from their 2005 Bright Lights Burnin' compilation. It has a lot more 'umph' to it.
Right off the bat, we've got a sublime guitar melody layered with some keys and twanging bass. Then the drummer starts his shit up hard. The vocalist, Steve starts "woahing" and "oohing" and is obviously having a good fucking time just fifteen seconds in. He immediately cuts into the lyrics, which are clearly about a girl he's pretty fond of. This is a nice contrast to the more somber start-off of the original version provided below.
I've got to admit I like this version too. Stevey Boy croons and sighs as soon as the intro bass solo ends. The snare is way more prominent. The guitar tone is a bit crunchier. The vocals are more emphasized in the mix and sound more somber which fits the forceful yet longing tone of the lyrics. But nothing beats clean production, which the remastered version clearly has over this one.
The guitar guides the track through the verses and really starts kicking it up during the pre-chorus.The guitarist riffs after each line during the pre-chorus and it provides a soft contrast to the more powerful chorus where Steve belts out "I want your love!"in an increasingly longing tone and the guitarist glides out an incredibly melodic riff behind it all. The whole thing flows so smoothly from verse to chorus.
While everything sounds amazing and all of the instruments blend together well, (one of the benefits of the remastering) after the second chorus the riffs and melodies start to get a bit repetitive. Which isn't a bad thing. This song is simplistic in a masterful way.
And Black Rose are great composers because after the second chorus the song breaks down into Steve's crooning and wailing backed by the same keyboard solo from the intro. One of the most amazing things about this track is how much the vocalist is feeling it. It's reminiscent of how whenever you hear Robert Plant screeching and wailing you can envision him just gyrating along in your head.
And then the guitarist breaks his repetition and beats out one of the fastest and most melodic solos I've heard since two songs ago on this album. It's so full of slides and squeals that I've got to commend this guy for getting it all out in just twenty-four seconds.
We've got to put a name on this man. It's Pat O' Neil.
Then Stevey Boy belts out the chorus for the last time with a few extra 'oohs' in between the words. The drummer starts slapping his skins as Steve hums and Pat plays a winding riff. The song ends with one last echoing 'Want your love!'
I love this song's lyrics and the way the vocalist sings them. I'm not one for sappy pop ballads. But I love sappy pop ballads from bands that sound like they should be singing about sailing to Valhalla or other stereotypical metal shit.
And Steve's voice is amazing compared to so many NWOBHM singers. They typically range from either sounding like complete incoherent ass or imitating Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford. The latter is always hilarious but gets boring. Steve swoons and says shit like "Give me it all!" all throughout the song. The heartfelt vocals make this song.
The drums don't stand out from a technical standpoint, but boy are they heavy! Which I think is compensatory, because in the original mix they're mixed really loudly but they lack any kind of kick and sound faint. It's like the drummer tracked his audio from outside the booth with the door open. But I love all of the parts where the drummer starts playing really quickly to signal a transition in the song.
Overall, I've got to say I'm disappointed in the guitar playing on this track. Most of the time Pat just follows the same melody as the keyboards and the bass from the intro. That gets boring fast. The only time Pat shines is during the five-second solo after the intro that the vocals cut short, and the song's main solo, which is again too short. If they'd let Pat do his own thing throughout, this song would've sounded a little less repetitive. I sense a lot of repressed energy which is probably why this is the last album he did with the band. (And his solo shit does in fact shred.)
The lyrics are amazing. Not for how they're written, but for what they say. Not because they rhyme but because they get vocally delivered on time.
But in all seriousness, I enjoy this track. I was drawn to it by the guitar intro. I give this one four guitar picks out of five. If you're a fan of NWOBHM, early Def Leppard, kick-ass guitar riffs, or just music in general I recommend you check out this band. Thanks for reading.
© 2018 Joey Smith