Reviewed by Jonathan DeWoskin
Hello again everyone. Harry handed me the keys to stream an upcoming country album and if you read my last review, you’d know I have some trepidation about country music. I’m happy to say that, once again, I was wrong. Scott H. Biram’s 9th studio album, The Bad Testament, is definitely country, but Scott’s talents were steeped in the music scene of Austin, Texas. The influence of blues, punk and heavy metal are unmistakable.
Following the theme of religious testament, some of his song introductions include audio clips of evangelistic preachers. The first track, “Set Me Free” has a catchy opening riff, but just as you start getting into it, you hear Scott’s voice for the first time. It’s not the voice I’d expect to hear from a guy in his early 40s. It’s hard to describe for me because I’m not well versed in the country music genre. Suffice it to say, his voice sounds like it’s from a bygone era, but it works and I just let it play.
My routine for writing these reviews is to sit back and let the songs play and take a note or two of my impressions. Scott slows the pace and takes a melancholy turn with “Still Around.” He shows off his picking talent as well. The mood continues with a bluesy forlorn “Red Wine.”
When “TrainWrecker” came up, I just sat and stared trying to comprehend what the hell it was. I had to play it three more times. The pace is easily double the three previous tracks. You like punk? This track is for you.
That’s how this album moves. A few slow tracks, a couple fast ones. Some angry, some sad; All of them brilliant. Scott not only changes his voice to suit the style of the song, he changes the recording venue. “Swift Drifting” has a muted reverb, while “TrainWrecker” has the echo of a warehouse. Some are sung softly, others wailing with the style changing from old time country to heavy metal. Definitely not the country I was expecting.
The album has not yet been released, but keep an ear open. If you’re at all like me, this one is worth a listen – even if it’s not completely your style.