As a longtime fan of this band – since the very beginning actually – I feel that I’m more than qualified to call this new album the band’s weakest to date.
The essential quadrilogy of Mechanical Resonance (one of the best debut albums in history), The Great Radio Controversy, Psychotic Supper (again, utterly essential) and Bust a Nut are four of the best American hard rock albums I own.
I’ve not rushed into this review hoping the album would grow on me more than it has. But I’m still stuck in a middle ground of appreciating some of the tracks on here as classic Tesla brilliance, but overall, there are several tracks that fall flat and simply drag.
Simplicity is a case of what could and should have been rather than what is.
Style wise the band has stripped the sound right back. This is a pretty raw affair, with a live in the studio feel.
That in itself is ok, but the album is way too bloated at 15 tracks. An 11 track album would have flowed better and maintained a better tempo. As it is, the album drags through too many slower tracks and a couple of true fillers.
I don’t think they do themselves any favors leading off with the plodding MP3 as an opening track. It’s an ok song, but it is a mid-album track I think. The faster and more classic sounding Ricochet would have made a much better opening track.
Rise And Fall is another pretty decent track and is reminiscent of the classic Tesla sound, but I’m not sure about the sequencing at all as this track also has that mid-tempo pace.
So Divine is a uptempo rocker. Better for rocking, but let down by not being one of the band’s better tracks.
The slow bar room boogie of the acoustic driven Cross My Heart again affects the flow of the album.
The heartfelt rock ballad Honestly is a great track, but this album really has no flow.
Flip Side is another bar room boogie track that highlights the back and forth nature of the style and tempo within the album.
Other Than Me is another ballad and a pretty decent track in many ways, but as a die-hard Tesla fan, I’m hanging out for a classic rocker at this stage.
Break Of Dawn delivers the tempo, but perhaps not the song quality. It’s pretty raw and does grow on you and might have fared better in a revised shuffle of the running order.
Burnout To Fade is yet another slower track – another acoustic ballad which is one of my preferred slower tracks on the album, but I’m really suffering from lack of tempo.
And what do we get now, yes, another slow ballad. Life Is A River is once again, a decent enough track, but to many slow tracks are killing this album.
Sympathy picks up the pace with a heavy, but it’s a modern rocker with little redeeming value.
Time Bomb is almost there – the twin guitar attack and frantic pace is great and long overdue on the album.
Closing out the 14 new studio tracks is yet another acoustic driven ballad. Fortunately for the band it is the album’s best ballad. Classic Tesla all the way.