Billy Talent is a Canadian rock band from Mississauga, Ontario. They formed in 1993 with Benjamin Kowalewicz as the lead vocalist, Ian D’sa on guitar, bassist Jon Gallant and drummer Aaron Solowoniuk with temporary drummer Jordan Hastings currently.
I saw the band at Download Festival in 2009. That is how I got turned onto Billy Talent. They have released four fantastic albums previously so looking forward to this fifth effort.
The album opens with “Big Red Gun” and what an opener! Lots of the usual punky guitar and vocals. A real foot stomping track. We continue with the title track, “Afraid of Heights”. This is a fantastic follow to the meaty opening track and is a real catchy song. Up next is “The Crutch” which has a great melodic feel to it with a memorable riff running through the whole song and a great solo. “Louder than the Dj” is a real anthem. You can imagine this one live with plenty of crowd interaction. My favourite song on the album. The oddly titled “Ghost Ship of Cannibal Rats” takes a different turn musically but is just as good. This is, I feel, the best Billy Talent I have ever heard and I am loving every track. “Rabbit Down the Hole” slows the album down a little and is a lovely soothing number that gets heavy during the chorus. “Time Bomb Ticking Away” is another dip into the punk sound that they do so well. If this one doesn’t get you reaching for your air guitar, nothing will! A fantastic chorus and a real pogo song, “Leave Them All Behind” is another great catchy song. You just can’t say a bad word so far, great ska punk tracks. “Horses & Chariots” has a lots of keyboards blended in as they attempt a different type of song which is ok. “This Is Our War” is a good enough song but not one of my favourites. “February Winds” kicks things along again into this solid track. We find the reprise of “Afraid of Heights” closing out the album. It’s not bad, but I prefer the album track, to be honest.
So, to round things up this is a great punk sounding record typically Billy Talent, just a notch up. If you have never heard them, if you think along the lines of Green Day you will be somewhere near. There are only a couple of tracks I could leave, but on the whole my favourite album they have ever made. A record you could just keep revisiting and singing and dancing to, a big thumbs up.
Mark 9 out of 10