Ontario Bands Week: Album Review-Billy Talent-Billy Talent (2003)

Billy Talent started out with the band name Pezz. 4 high school buddies toiling around the Toronto area playing bars and staying under the radar. They releasedone album under that name, but ran into legal trouble and changed the name to Billy Talent, which I assume was an homage to the character in the amazing movie Hard Core Logo. Then in 2001 with a friends connection at Warner Music they signed record deal. That year they released an EP, then in 2003 this self titled album was released. It was nominated for rock album of the year at the Junos, has sold over 3 times platinum in Canada, and was voted 453 in Rock Hard magazines top 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums Of All Time. I will give a little warning that a few of the videos have content that some may find disturbing. The video for River Below and Nothing To Lose both made the 50 Most Controversial Videos Countdown on Canadian music channel MuchMusic.

This Is How It Goes – A song that Ray can relate to. “That’s just how she goes, Bubs.” The guitar work, bass, pounding drums and piercing vocals let you know this won’t be a quiet night in with grandma.

Living In The Shadows – Great, twangy guitar work with alternating crunchy riffs, pounding drums and booming bass. The mix of quiet and screaming vocals and the cool background harmonies make this song great.

Try Honesty – The lead single has amazing musicianship, wonderful vocals, both in lead and background.

Line & Sinker – Both the vocals and the background sound angry and shouting at most times, but not in an annoying way.

Lies – This song tones it down a notch, and is a welcome addition. The bass booms beautifully on this one.

The Ex – The second single has a punk attitude and fast pace with some meat on the bones and anger bubbling just below the surface.

River Below – The third single is simple an amazing song. The song is about the downward spiral of a war vet who has degraded to the point in which his illness compels him to setoff a bomb. “I’m sick and I’m twisted. I’m broken you can’t fix it, don’t make me, ’cause I’ll do it, red button and we’ll all go……..Into the river below…..”

Standing In The Rain – A song about runaway turned drug addicted street prostitute. As the father of a teen girl, this one hits pretty hard.

Cut The Curtains – The beginning of this song reminds me of an awesome metal song. I can’t quite place it, but the guitar work is awesome.

Prisoners Of Today – I enjoy the quieter guitar in the middle, and the background vocals are great.

Nothing To Lose – The 4th single is a really, really heavy song. Not heavy as in loud(although it does have some), but heavy subject matter regarding teen suicide. Another song that hits hard for me. Billy Talent donated $1 to Kids Help Phone in Canada every time that song was played on the radio.

Voices Of Violence – I am not sure what this song represents. I think it is about the  voices of those that were killed will never go away.




10 thoughts on “Ontario Bands Week: Album Review-Billy Talent-Billy Talent (2003)

  1. Nice review Brian – this is one of those groups that gives me hope in ‘new’ music.
    Try honesty’s guitar work is among my favourite from the 21st century and nothing to lose is like you said, heavy, but reveals that these guys seem to be really good guys.
    Though on a lighter note, I know Kingston radio stations have had a bit of fun at the Leafs’ expense when Toronto’s fallen out of playoff contention in recent years, Hey did you hear that Billy Talent Song about Toronto? Fallen Leafs all around.
    They might not be able to make that joke this year though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yayyy. Another Billy Talent supporter.

      With your city location, there must be a real mix of Hab (Hab Nots), Leafs and Sens fans.

      I am a Leaf fan so therefore hate everthing Hab and Sen related.

      P.S. The bonus for that “humour” is fans get to listen to Fallen Leaves, which is a great song.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J. says:

    For a minute or two I thought “never herd of this lot”… then I hit River Below. I remember that one. Not sure why… not really my cup of coffee, but I’d likely have been more inclined to give them a listen had I heard them in the 90s!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have their latest release and it is great.
      They have matured a bit and are less shouty.
      I liked them then, and still do now.
      Back in the 90’s they were known as Pezz and were virtually unknown.


      • J. says:

        I just thought there was a 90s vibe to their stuff there. Probably cause I listened to a wee bit of that kinda thing back then as my brother was digging those kinda sounds.


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