The Black Halos are back and the Darkness has Doubled! since ’94 The Black Halos have been at the forefront of punk n roll when the world was shoegazing and not wanting to look or sound like they were in a gang or band of brothers, bands like The Black Halos were a much-needed shot in the arm and above all they had songs. Plenty of em and they were fan-fuckin-tastic!
The self-titled debut was a much-needed shot in the arm and to follow it up with the magnificent ‘The Violent Years’ the band could do no wrong. They were on MTV and all was good.
With two further albums and some line-up changes, they were still contenders and I loved those albums but something was missing. Now original members Billy Hopeless, Rich Jones (guitarist with Michael Monroe, Ginger Wildheart, AMEN), and Jay Millette, have got the mojo back for the band and that X Factor is right up front and centre on this new album. Joined by new boys John Kerns (The Age Of Electric) and Danni Action (ACIIDZ) the rhythm section is on fire and stoking the furnace in the engine room for the band to truly set ablaze these new songs.
After a few singles that came out ofver the last couple of globally troubled years, we need bands like The Black Halos out there doing it and leading the way for honest, beautiful punk n roll. when they released the singles the sound was there and the tunes were easily some of their best ever written and recorded – maybe their time apart was needed to rebuild and come back stronger and wiser.
The album, recorded in Toronto and mixed by Dave Draper (The Wildhearts, The Professionals), as the guitars kick in on the opener ‘A History Of Violence’ the years just peel back and twenty years melt away. Its got adrenalin, melody, and the familiar Black Halos gang vocals and we’re underway with a Cheshire cat grin knowing that shit just got serious and The Black Halos are in the fuckin Room!!!
the record sounds amazing and ‘Tenement Kids’ opening lick sounds like classic Manic Street Preachers if only they had the bollocks to turn up their guitars its a belter of a song that will leave the intro lick inside your head to just sit dormant before growing over time and before you know it your singing along – classic Halos. A couple of the previously released singles get a look in with the lyrically astute ‘Uncommonwealth’ that just rumbles along like a prowling hungry pissed-off beast. It was a great single but in the mix of this record, it sounds brilliant. The relentless slap of the snare and repetitive chant is pure Halos.
‘Forget Me Knot’ is a confident stab with some magnificent backing vocals and the whole arrangement is one of their finest – its fair to say these gents live it and love it and on songs like this champion it and so they should. They mix things up on the song ‘Better Days’ adding variety on the guitars and it has to be said Billy’s vocals are sandpaper wrapped in a velvet glove his melody is exceptional and again I have to return to the arrangement – its so well delivered it sounds like we’ve been playing it for years never mind a mere couple of weeks, these are better days indeed with a soundtrack like this.
With eleven originals and one amazing cover, this record is unquestionably one of the best records I’ve had the pleasure of all year and it’s so pleasing to hear a band I love absolutely deliver the goods and some. There isn’t one second that doesn’t deserve praise and I’ve heard a lot of music this year but this sounds special and the more I’m playing it the more songs are jostling for positions with a solo that stands out here or a melody there it’s honestly that good. ‘All My Friends Are Like Drugs’ or the epic and heartbreaking ‘Ain’t No Time To Say Goodbye’ written for Mr Chi Pig (SNFU frontman) it was and is one of the best singles I’ve heard for several years, I must have played this song a thousand times since it was released on yeah right! records back in August 2020 if you’ve never heard it then there is no better reason to get a hold of this album right now its one of the best songs the band has ever written and that’s not even up for debate.
In the belly of this here record, you have a cover of The Wanderers ‘Ready To Snap’ which was a fantastic tune, and roping in legend Michael Monroe to handle vocals alongside Billy makes perfect sense, and boy this is how to do a cover from the passion in both vocalists delivery to those backing vocals this song goes to the next level. If I haven’t done my job and whet your appetite for this album then I can only apologise to the band, the label, and to people who still believe in Rock and Roll and its amazing powers if you only buy one record this year then I suggest you beg, steal or borrow a copy of ‘How The Darkness Doubled’because it is a relentless, high-octane blast of classic Halos punk rock ‘n’ roll! and one of if not the best record released in 2022. How’s that for leaving on a ‘Positive Note’ now getoutofhere! you beautiful bastards! The Black Halos have just nailed it…again!
Author: Dom Daley