Beautiful Creatures - Deuce - 2005 - Perris Records
1. Anyone 2. Freedom 3. Unforgiven 4. Save Me 5. Superfly 6. Empty 7. Never 8. Straight To Hell 9. The Unknown 10. Ton Of Lead 11. Brand New Day 12. Thanks 13. I Won't Be The One
Well there is certainly nothing beautiful about this band's history, with this LA based act walking through the toughest streets in town, complete with heartache, broken dreams, and a failed attempt at notoriety and fame. It hasn't kept these bad boys of rock down though, with the group back in business with new creation "Deuce", the band's sophomore effort and follow-up to their 2001 debut. Founded by ex-Bang Tango singer Joe Leste in 1999, Beautiful Creatures play late 80s/early 90s hard rock, a street grime version complete with modern hooks and a big, mean sound reminiscent with those post-glam acts. The band's impressive debut was chock-full of down and dirty riffs, complete with beefy hooks and Leste's sinister blues act. The band's first record was a major hit for me, but unfortunately for the Warner Brothers label it was a complete bomb. After seeing some shows on Ozzfest, Beautiful Creatures were well on their way out the door.
Obstacles and heartbreak never stopped Leste before, and before long the band started writing material for their second album. The band had some trouble picking up a label contract, but did manage to get their album out in Japan through JVC. Those of us with shallow pockets can now avoid that steep import price. Spitfire Records has signed the band and released their "Deuce" title domestically. Being the hard rocker I am, I slipped over to Best Buy and picked this baby up for $13.99. It was money well worth it, but this one didn't quite have the impact I was hoping for.
Sure, this one fits snugly right beside the debut, with Leste doing what he can with this material. His voice is still there and better than ever even after the release of the poorly favored reunion Bang Tango record. But beyond that comes an angry metallic sound out of the band, a gritty, tight musical pattern that keeps the heavy heads a bangin'. At times the boys are as heavy as Overkill (see gutsy opener "Anyone"), with huge bombastic riffs running all over this rock slab. With huge staples like "Freedom" and "Straight To Hell" it is really hard to find anything negative about the album. But the goods stop there, as if the band was only looking for that down and dirty raw sound half the time. The rest of this release just spins it's wheels, never quite breaking into that rich soil that keeps bands like this alive and well. No, this time around the band never quite gets into that open field. I'm not sure if it's Anthony Focx's production or simply the band trying to go even more modern, but the riffs sound extremely manufactured and processed, almost coming across as mechanical and...well...I just can't identify with that.
Strong cuts here are the addictive hooks of "Anyone", "Freedom", "Straight To Hell", and "Thanks". Sub-par cuts include the lost identity on "Unforgiven", the modern waste of "Empty", and the not so "Brand New Day". Overall a decent effort but for some reason the album just sounds clunky and overdone. If you are looking for a cookie-cutter, drone sound then look no further. For me and hopefully others, I'd like to hear a bit more identity on a loosely built engine. Give us a little attitude and a bit more diversity guys! Loosen up some and just let it ride.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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