Released: 2013, RSK Entertainment
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Much was made of Breed 77’s (and as I’m sure they have to correct every time it’s seven-seven not seventy-seven) Gibraltarian roots when they first appeared towards the turn of the century, and it’s hard not to admire them for subsequently working to incorporate those Spanish/flamenco elements in their music. It took them beyond the norm, giving them a rope to grasp onto in the churning sea of alternative metal.
It seems though that we’re now getting acquainted with a new breed of Breed 77. The Evil Inside is tagged as in many ways being ‘the band’s most accessible, crossover work to date’ and I’d not argue. The problem is all those little heritage nods are being dialled back as so often ‘accessible’ means homogenous. There are no English-to- Spanish lyrics, fewer flamenco passages, and a step back from the less even vocals in Paul Isola’s range.
What we’re left with instead is an album full of ‘you, me and I’ lyrics - an often introspective look that falls into a couple of fixed thought patterns. It almost prompted me to do a track-by-track of my first impressions which ran something like this - you fucked me up on ‘Drown’ and ‘Broken Pieces’; have I fucked up on ‘Fear’; I’m not fucking sure on ‘Looking For Myself’, which granted has an interesting musical middle ground and vocal tic; and everything is fucked up on ‘Bring On The Rain’ which takes a Spanish guitar to a Disturbed style opening, and a bit of a similar line to Tool’s Ænema in calling on the water, but that’s like comparing a Lego tower to the Shard. And so it goes on.
Of course I’m being glib - each song has probably been written with a lot of hidden depths but my lift must just not go to all floors because I found little that made me want to look beyond snap judgements. To say warrants repeat listenings is usually just a nice way of saying ‘it wasn’t that good the first time round’ but this time it might just be true. The Evil Inside also feels unnecessarily long before you even get to the bonus stuff - by song three my brain was already starting to drag its feet, and by just half way through was petulantly whining ‘are we there yet’.
Just when you thought this was going to be all negative, I have a few shout-outs - first to ‘Low’ for its heavier opening riff and later flamenco guitar work, which is just what I was expecting from Breed 77. And then there’s Face, which sounds like a leftover from Insects. It wasn’t until this barrelled out nine songs in that I realised a huge part of why The Evil Inside feels so long drawn out is the broadly uniform slower tempo. With its shredding solos and gruff vocals it’s so desperately welcome that I almost rolled out the red carpet. Straight after is another chugger ‘Burn City Burn’, that is not wholly convincing in its ‘rage’ but I’ll happily take what’s given.
The thing is the points that I dislike about The Evil Inside are what will probably bring Breed 77 their greatest success so far, and I’m sure plenty of their current fans will dig it as well. After all it can’t be said that they’re a band afraid of evolution, so perhaps natural selection will see this as the future face of Breed 77. And you can't argue with Darwin.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs