"Russian Roulette" (Hotfoot Records; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Russian Roulette" is an emo album that isn't always annoying. That in itself is a triumph of some sort.

Although littered throughout with the kind of angst-ridden, schmaltzy and whiny vocals and melodies that makes so much emo basically unlistenable, Novemberkills sometimes adds something to the songs on "Russian Roulette" that makes them stand out ... a little. And that's heaviness. Tracks like "Made for TV" and "Black Picket Fences" would simply be typical emo songs if it weren't for the driving guitar rhythms in the background. That assorted heaviness (which doesn't happen quite enough here) gives some of the songs a much-needed originality that other carbon copy emo bands can't supply.

Strangely, the heavier songs seems to all be loaded at the front of the CD, which means that -- as "Russian Roulette" plays out -- it gets weaker and weaker. Then again, if it were the other way around, you may never get to the heavier songs. With 12 tracks to skip through, a listener looking for something heavier may have given up before they get that far along. 

Fans of emo will probably like much of what they hear on "Russian Roulette." Those who dislike the genre had best steer away from Novemberkills.

Novemberkills: Dave Deceglie - vocals; Frank Antonetti - guitars and vocals; Jonathan Bjelland - drums, vocals; Joe Corani - guitar; Frank Perz - bass.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06 Mar 2022 14:38:31 -0500.