Released: 2013, AFM Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
You know The New Black right? That Strapping Young Lad album? Nope. I mean the even newer The New Black than that - come on keep up. This German modern hard rock band came on the scene, and this name, in 2009. If this is your first introduction to them well III: Cut Loose is album three and as such could be like coming in on the end part of a trilogy. Never fear - this is a story line that’s easy to pick up and there’s no really complicated character names like in those Tolkien adaptations.
If I was adhering to the press release script I’d tell you that the album opens with The New Black’s Motorhead song, but although its faster paced opening might be approaching the big M’s tempo ‘Innocence & Time’ actually sounds as though it was snaffled off Avenged Sevenfold’s half-full plate. Listen to that am-I-the-chorus vocal and tell me different.
In fact throw away all of those other pages of notes as well - The New Black have groove, but it’s not groove metal . Take ‘Count Me In’ - it’ll have them bopping down the front for sure, but fist-pumping not neck-cracking. To me that’s III: Cut Loose all over - kind of commercial hard rock, dare I say high school rock without someone throwing a shoe at me.
In their own way the melodic ‘Any Colour You Like (As Long As It’s Black)’, Fozzy-esque ‘Burning D’, ‘One Thing I Know’, which delights in its wow-you’ve-let-yourself-go lyrics, and noddy ‘Muzzle & Blinkers’ each sound made for radio, and the stage at the same time. On the latter though I kept hearing the words ‘muzzle and blinkers’ as ‘muscles and big guns’, which puts a slightly homoerotic twist on the preceding line - ‘you want to know what drives me’... Ah I jest but that’s only because I have nothing worse to throw at them.
Like the colour black itself, there’s nothing new about The New Black. But there’s a good reason people keep turning to black as a wardrobe staple... it’s not just cause it’s supposedly slimming but cause it makes most of us look bad-ass. And The New Black have stuck to the same rules with III: Cut Loose. It’s all the stuff that you first love about rock - groove, melody, catchy riffs, a hint of attitude - and it’s that which has earnt them support slots with acts as diverse as AC/DC, Volbeat and Black Label Society.
Of course the danger of being ‘the new black’ is that there’s always something waiting in the wings to supersede you in terms of popularity. Hopefully The New Black’s spectrum is wide enough to overcome this. Or even just to get away from that association with that Strapping Young Lad album.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs