Billy Talent's Dead Silence a disappointing effort

Billy Talent’s new album, Dead Silence, sounds like another pop-punk album that has staying power in the music industry, but doesn’t give more than need be. Which is unfortunate. They seem successful: all members have been together since 1993, which is 19 years to make your band creditable and engineer a sound that works well and garners a large cheque. Formed in Streetsvillle, Ontario, Billy Talent consists of Ben Kowalewicz (lead vocalist),  Ian D'Sa (lead guitar), Jon Gallant (bass) and Aaron Solowoniuk (drums).

Cynical, repetitive and angry. We get that. It’s normal, it’s expected and it’s common with every coming of age teenager. But in this case, we are not looking at a teenage band that have just been discovered by Much Music or Simon Cowell in the past few years. They are all over 35 years of age: but for some reason, the “Fountain of Youth” holds them back with regards to their songwriting, their musical originality and their maturity.

“Try Honesty,” was a pretty good song. As was “River Below” and “Nothing to Lose.”  All three  were hit singles, birthed from the first self-titled band Billy Talent produced in 2002 with the help from co-venture business deal with Atlantic Records and Warner Music Canada. The album received success with shows in Canada, United States and across the pond in Europe. Two Junos (one for Best Album of the Year and Best Band of the Year), a MuchMusic Video Award nomination and demand for touring schedules, led Billy Talent to be platinum in Canada.

Billy Talent have also won 9 awards at the MuchMusic Video Awards and 7 awards  at the Junos. To add to that, they have repeatedly been present as a MuchMusic Video Award Nominee since 2004.
Having toured with bands such as Rise Against, Anti-Flag, Moneen and Rancid, they have also opened with lesser known Drive By to showcase the better known My Chemical Romance. A three-day Coachella festival, multiple Reading and Leeds Festivals and continual support in Canada feed the soul, so to speak, for Billy Talent.

But something is missing from Dead Silence. And by saying that you want to emulate a sound like The Police, or blush at the accidental similarity to Fugazi or Rage Against the Machine, means you need to step up to the plate and deliver more than just a song and dance of “anger and resentment.” It means you need to mature and act your age!

Billy Talent mentioned that this album is not part of the trilogy of the first three: Billy Talent (2003), Billy Talent II (2006) and Billy Talent III (2009). With Dead Silence, their characteristic of angst and aggressive noise, though not without a legion of fans,  appears to still be an experiment they are concocting in their basement cellar with tweens, teens and punk kids who hate their lives.

Sorry Billy Talent, Dead Silence, is a no-go.

Jaymin Proulx is a London freelance writer.


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