Penny For Your Sins is the long-awaited sophomore album from Kent based quartet Black Roze. With two Amazon Rock Chart Number One Singles already under their belt and a captivating live show, one was eagerly anticipating this release.
Black Roze – Penny For Your Sins
Release Date: 28 April 2023
Words: Sophie James
The band comprise of the distinctive voice of the entrancing Viixen, Baz Roze on Guitar, Steve Rankin on bass, with Vic Finch on the drums. Inspired and composed during the Seasons of Lockdown, this release sees the band explore their deepest darkest thoughts, deeds and desires, which swing between darkness and light. In doing so, they embrace a diverse range of musical styles such as Metal, rock, goth, sleaze, glam, a burst of punk, the almost obligatory ballad and an acoustic bonus.
Title Track Penny For Your Sins launches the album in raucous style. As Baz once remarked, “This has a very NWOBHM feel to it.” It is propelled by the kind of riff and pummelling bass that you love to hear upon entering a Rock Bar or Club and sure takes you back to the early ’80s. This is the tale of a deceitful, soul-stealing Succubus, inspired by the album artwork designed by The Exile, which is a story in itself. Unquestionably one to get the head nodding vigorously and destined to become a firm live favourite.
Give Yourself To Me has one of those quirky riffs you suspect you’ve heard before but can’t place. Regardless, it already has you ensnared as the band delves into the sheer abandonment of sexual submission. The harmony vocals of “Who’d have thought to be enslaved would make you feel so free” perfectly mirror the dynamic of the topic with the ‘fuzzy’ guitar solo accentuating the already charged atmosphere.
Hit Me Up is one of those unadulterated weekend party anthems which, unsurprisingly, has been the set opener at recent gigs. Perfectly depicting ‘That Friday Feeling’ when one can dispense with the weekday drudgery, glam up, let your hair down, and rock ‘n’ roll all night. With a riff that is guaranteed to have you reaching for your air guitar, Viixen delivers a total gem of a line in “I want my New Rocks not the office shoes” before the blissful refrain of “Hit me with Tequila till I’m out of my face.” A guaranteed drinks in the air, singalong booty shaker. MetalTalk does, however, encourage responsible liquor consumption.
Devil’s Door sees the pace reined in, and the mood darken with a recollection of Viixen’s recent near-death experience and the accompanying hallucinations. “Have you ever been in that place, that space between life and death?” she enquires in a Banshees style. The bridge sees the melody intensify before the pleading chorus of “Let me live or let me die”. One can just imagine a promo for this, a gothic style featurette enacting the conflict between enduring life’s struggle or acquiescence.
A Chilli-type funky bass slap introduces Wake It Up before a punk fury is unleashed. “Be kind, be kind to all they cry, but their main aim is to divide” acerbically attacks the song’s inspiration. Abrupt and enraged like all the best punk anthems. Lyrically, think Alice Cooper’s Shut Up And Rock adrenalized and delivered with more venom.
I must admit that Burn It Down was my favourite ‘single’ of 2022. Topically it could be alternatively titled Self-Destruction Blues with lines such as “I don’t think God is on my side. I live my life on a cursed dice. I throw it all away”. However, this races along gloriously with a beguiling refrain, driving riff and pumping bass. A song which impeccably strides the worlds of rock and goth and is already an indispensable inclusion in the setlist.
Footprints In The Sand sets a more reflective tone, approaching power ballad territory. The album’s mellowest moment, looking backwards at those who have passed and forward with fears for our children’s future. “We lose the ones we love; I don’t feel like walking tall.” Anthems like these always seem to draw the very best out of a soloist, and Baz crowns this by unleashing his inner Slash.
A pulsating bass introduces the flying Kix, which returns us to the Hit Me Up zone. A chopping riff underpins what will be another live favourite with its simple chorus of “I get my Kix from Rock and Roll”. Another exuberant party tune.
Not Your Whore (Anymore) sees us venture back to mid-’80s goth territory before another of their infectious hook-laden choruses gives the track an overall more contemporary feel.
Poison Voices is thematically not too far removed from Devil’s Door. “In the dark spaces of my head, voices chant you’d be better off dead.” This tale of internal torment, told above a frantic riff and complementing bass, brings the standard release to a close.
Finally, the frantic Curse Of The Black Roze from 2019’s debut Spiritual Hell has been spectacularly reworked with a more laid-back, almost Eagles-like feel to it and reappears here as a Bonus Track.
To summarise, singer Vixx has such an immediately identifiable voice. Coupled with Baz’s fluid soloing and driving riffs, they combine to produce a distinctive and highly contagious sound which has been crisply captured by Dan Lucas’ sharp production. A hugely enjoyable album throughout and one that makes you want to experience its contents brought to life on stage.
Penny For Your Sins will be released on Friday, 28 April, via the band’s website and all major streaming platforms.