The first Billy Talent album took me by surprise. My friend turned me on to them. On the first listen, I thought he was crazy. Here is this nasal voice screaming at me and these choppy guitar parts switching on and off the beat. I took the CD out of my player with every intention of kicking my friend in the head. Waste my time, will he? I'll show him. CD in hand, I made my way out the door and into my car where something magical happened. I'm humming along with one of the songs. A song I only heard once and it had permeated my brain only to force its way back out of my mouth. My friend would be spared…for now.
Billy Talent II is unmistakably a product of Billy Talent. Beyond the unimaginative album title, each song is cut from the same cloth as the previous album. It could get a little old. I mean, I have twelve songs worth of this already. Do I need another twelve? Yes. Unequivocally, yes.
The great thing about Billy Talent is their unique sound. This chaotic, noisy energy is barely harnessed with two vocals, guitars, bass, and drums. Under the constant threat of flying apart, Billy Talent is able to bring out their best. And while I think this chaos is one that is well thought out and controlled, it is well done enough that I don't care. "Devil in a Midnight Mass" is the first track on the album and really encompasses all that is Billy Talent. Consider it the litmus test for both albums. If you don't like this, you won't like the rest. Grandiose statements punctuated with feverish guitar work seem to fit me to a "T" so bring it on! Ask me when Billy Talent III comes out if I still feel the same way and it could be a whole new ballgame though .
Completely unrelated, I would like to just thank Atlantic Records for making this album the hardest album to review not from a critical standpoint but from a physical one. The small print on the CD spells it out.
"These Compact Discs have been individually watermarked with a unique identification number embedded in the music. This number is traceable directly to the authorized recipient, which allows us to identify the source of any unauthorized copies or other reproductions of the music contained on this CD. The watermark is not changed or destroyed by extracting clips of the music, or by using any compression technology such as MP3. The sound quality of the audio playback is not affected. This CD is intended to be listened to solely by the authorized recipient and no portion of its contents may be copied or reproduced in any manner, nor made available in any manner to any third party (whether by means of streaming, so-called "peer-to-peer" networks or otherwise). This CD should not be played in a computer. This CD contains additional copy protection technology, which may introduce playability issues for DVD players, car audio players, and some computer models. The manufacturer, the distributor, nor the developer make any representation or warranty or assume any responsibility with respect to the copy-protected portion of this disc. Thank you in advance for your understanding…Enjoy!"
Now, I have no problem with the watermarking. You don't want people to share the music. That is your policy. I may not agree with the policy but I respect it. The simple fact that I can't play this CD on any computer/DVD player/car CD player is just crazy. You know how I was able to review this album…by listening to it on a $25 CD player that was bought at the drugstore. Just how I like to enjoy my music! Crouched over the counter with my ear next to the three inch speakers! And when I wanted to hear something again all I had to do was gently press the previous track button just hard enough to register but not so hard as to start the track again. How convenient! I was wondering why there were so few other reviews of this album online but if this is the disc that is being sent out to reviewers it almost isn't worth the trouble. And I like the band. I guess I would have ask Atlantic to understand if some people not aware of Billy Talent's work decided that it isn't worth it to put in the effort…Enjoy, f**kers!