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Dom 07-10-2010 02:25 PM

Billy Talent: Billy Talent III (2009)
Billy Talent - Billy Talent III
2009 Atlantic / Roadrunner

Track List:
1. "Devil on My Shoulder" 3:49
2. "Rusted from the Rain" 4:13
3. "Saint Veronika" 4:09
4. "Tears Into Wine" 4:12
5. "White Sparrows" 3:14
6. "Pocketful of Dreams" 3:34
7. "The Dead Can't Testify" 4:27
8. "Diamond on a Landmine" 4:30
9. "Turn Your Back" 3:22
10. "Sudden Movements" 3:39
11. "Definiton of Destiny" 4:15

iTunes bonus tracks

12. "Bloody Nails + Broken Hearts" 3:37
13. "Devil on My Shoulder" (demo) 4:07
14. "Rusted from the Rain" (music video)

I was skeptical at first at hearing that Billy Talent's third studio album would be imaginatively named Billy Talent III (which reminded me of Led Zeppelin); it sounded a bit like they were running out of ideas and therefore the content of the album was not likely to be hugely original. Nevertheless, I preordered the album off iTunes as I loved their previous albums Billy Talent (which I will refer to as I) and Billy Talent II so I at least wanted to listen to it, despite my worries.

Once the album was released I listened through it and, after my first play through, was slightly disappointed; only a couple of songs stuck and I really disliked a few, but I decided to give it another few listens. This album definitely grows on you and I found myself enjoying it more and more with each play through. Now (coincidentally exactly a year after its release, 10th July) I decided to give it a more critical listen and write a review on it.

I always saw III as a cross between I and II without being too unoriginal. The music builds on the maturity seen in II and yet goes back to I a little more in terms of style and catchiness. Devil On My Shoulder was one song I initially disliked on the album, but have grown to enjoy more. At first I disliked it because of the slower tempo and somewhat nonsensical lyrics - "I've got the devil on my shoulder, over and over." - but now I enjoy it however it's still a weak point in the album for me. Definition Of Destiny was another song I disliked due its rather cheesy lyrics about destiny. Again, this song has grown on me more but I still find it a weak point.

The best songs on the album for me are definitely Rusted From The Rain and Tears Into Wine. It's the lyrics of Rusted From The Rain that really makes the song for me - a fairly simplistic yet powerful meaning and filled with metaphors and similes - "You hung me like a picture, now I'm just a frame." - and the style of the rest of the band compliments the lyrics and vocals perfectly in my opinion. Rusted From The Rain also has guitarist Ian D'Sa's first guitar solo in a Billy Talent song which to me shows a much improved confidence in their music. Whilst the solo feels a bit forced it still fits the song and sounds goods despite it not being very technically difficult. Tears Into Wine has an intro that perhaps sounds a little too similar to some of their other songs, but soon breaks out into a rather different sounding Billy Talent with many changes in tone and intensity from the verses to the pre-choruses to the choruses. Turn Your Back is another highlight for me which involves a lot of change of tone in the song and that keeps it quite energetic which is definitely one of Billy Talent's strong points, but I feel the version they later did with Anti-Flag was better.

I find almost all songs on the album to be solid and I don't see any songs as fillers. Catchiness is one thing I have always found with Billy Talent and this is definitely seen on III without the negative points I generally find on "catchy" songs (that is, the fact that catchiness is all they have going for them). The band take on more maturity in their playing whilst maintaining the charm seen in their debut album and the more serious (and slightly more depressing) tone seen in Billy Talent II. This album also shows a boost in confidence for the band as we see more complex drum lines, bass lines and more solos and singing from the guitarist. The album definitely carries meaning in its songs but it's put across simply with perhaps too much use of metaphors and similes, although this is part of what works for them - it makes their meaning clear and concise and helps to convey emotion effectively. This album isn't anything groundbreaking for Billy Talent, but it's definitely a good album and is a credit to Billy Talent's small discography, but isn't their best album for me.

Highlights: Rusted From The Rain, Tears Into Wine, Saint Veronika.

Score: 4/5

Dom 10-02-2010 03:12 AM

No replies? :(

RVCA 11-11-2010 01:40 AM

Personally, Billy Talent III was a huge letdown compared to I and II. You nailed it in the first couple sentences of your review: their formula grew stale and they did nothing to reinvigorate it.

Dom 11-13-2010 10:42 AM


Originally Posted by Sc0ttMurray (Post 954971)
I'll give you a reply man,

Billy Talent III was awesome!

I'm not the biggest Billy Talent fan in the world however I loved so many classic track from (I) and II was in my ears all the time. As far as III goes I would totally agree that their sound has matured a bit. Also, "Definition of Destiny" is totally a weak point in the album but I do not agree that "Devil on my shoulder" is a weak point. It has a new-age style to it, an awesome and catchy guitar riff and the vocal melodies (especially in the verses) are a selling point for me. "Sudden Movements" however is a total SKIP for me as it suffers from the annoying factor that some of their great songs do when they reach the later parts (ex. "sympathy" (II) is an amazing song that tapers into a droning chant by the end). I don't understand why they would put such a simple and lame song on such a good album.

"Saint Veronika" and "White Sparrows" are among my favorite tracks as well as "Diamond on a Landmine" as they all have the "it factor" that I enjoy in Billy Talent songs. A good review, have you ever seen them live?

I had the pleasure just after III came out and it was one of my favorite shows. The crowd had a good vibe and a ton of energy, not too many mosh-fa**ots and they sounded great. Recommend for sure.

I'm sure IV (if it exists at some later point) will be a gem

Nah I haven't seen them live unfortunately, although I've heard that they're awesome.


Originally Posted by RVCA (Post 955005)
Personally, Billy Talent III was a huge letdown compared to I and II. You nailed it in the first couple sentences of your review: their formula grew stale and they did nothing to reinvigorate it.

I'd disagree overall. I think that it was quite a departure from their previous efforts, but I do think it is hinting at a future of uncreativity.

Alfred 11-14-2010 09:47 AM

The first Billy Talent is an all time favorite of mine, the second one is very good, but I didn't even bother to listen to this one. I heard the first two singles and they sound the same to me: slow, weak, and void of the youthful energy that made their first two albums great.

Hook 11-16-2010 02:48 PM

I really liked this album. Their first two albums were great too but each one to me has had a different sound and style to it. You have to realize that as they age, their music is going to change. They aren't going to keep making music that's just like Billy Talent because they've grown up a bit.

Hitting_Singularity 11-23-2010 02:32 PM

I've always loved Billy Talent, them being from my hometown and all, plus they are super catchy. However I can't really take them seriously.. they are really catchy songs and they think of a lot of good riffs.. drums are good. But I dunno, for me to be serious about a band, they have to be a bit more progressively changing and developing. But I will always listen to their stuff.

III II and I were different, but not enough in my opinion.

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