Buckcherry - 15/Black Butterfly
Well this is a recession busting, bumper value pack from Buckcherry; the collection of their two most recent albums and a bonus live disc representing the ideal way for the curious rocker to catch up on their career in a single hit. Like a triple expresso, this hit is almost too much for the human body to endure and you’ll emerge from it ashen faced, shaken and wondering where your next fix is coming from.
Fact - Buckcherry are the nearly men of heavy rock. They just missed out on the age of metal, when bands like Leppard and Aerosmith were turning over more sales than even they could snort the proceeds of. I mean, think about it, the decadent appetite of the 80’s metal scene was probably what made the Taliban what it is today! They also just missed out on being the chamber of Velvet Revolver but, laughing in the face of cruel fate, strode back onto the scene in 2006 with 15 and then again earlier this year with follow-up Black Butterfly.
There’s actually more development between the two albums than you might expect from a band who’ve clearly noted where the fickle wind of taste is blowing and have opted to tap the Classic Rock market; a fact underlined by the inclusion of a lastminute lacklustre cover of ‘Highway Star’ on Black Butterfly. In fact 2006’s 15 bears all of the signs of being a release valve, of years of pent up rage and adolescent hormones churned out in one nuclear explosion. This is the sound of AC/DC meets Warrant and so, be prepared, we’re talking about some scorching riffs but also some shocking lyrics. ‘So Far’ opens the album with an outpouring of anger and energy, bile spat into a hurricane of cacophonous guitars. It is genuinely thrilling and is almost matched by the Klaus Fluoride aping riff of ‘Next 2 You’. The album then falls into the trap of trying to tick every rock cliché in the book so we get a sweeping guitar epic followed by tender ballad and so on. This crocodile tenderness is soon made a mockery of by ‘Crazy Bitch’ which is just a ghastly misogynistic mess featuring the charming refrain ‘you’re crazy bitch but you fuck so good I’m on top of it.’ Lovely, presumably 15 is so titled as it is the last age at which you can listen to this without wanting to scrub yourself with bleach afterwards.
Credit where it is due though, Black Butterfly is a step up the evolutionary ladder both musically and lyrically. It sounds as huge as you’d expect a band covering Deep Purple to and in places, such as the doom laden ‘Rescue Me’, heads off on a semi-gothic Alice in Chains path. Such experimentation is minimal however and ‘Talk To Me’ represents classic, timeless balls-to-the-wall hard rock, which thankfully refrains from some of the band’s earlier lyrical excesses. ‘Child Called It’ certainly develops this newfound lyrical maturity via a song which is a true story based upon an horrific child abuse case documented in a book by Dave Pelzer. ‘Fallout’ documents the tribulations of front man Josh Todd’s life to a sleazy soundtrack which could have graced any recent Aerosmith album, so its no surprise to note that the bands share a producer in Marti Frederiksen. He certainly displays all of his nous in the production of ‘Rose’. which is an epic road movie of a song which would have dominated the MTv schedules in the days when it was actually a music channel. That’s the essential problem that Buckcherry face: right band, wrong decade.