At this point, you either are really into Scott Biram’s music, or you’ve acknowledged it’s not your thing. It’s not pretty music that you listen to for “soothing” effects, it’s nitty, gritty, dark and dirty – a fusion of country, punk, blues, and rock that’s been Scott’s formula ever since The Dirty Old One Man Band (although I’d argue since his debut, but that’s just me).
Anyway, Scott’s new album The Bad Testament is essentially a continuation of that, only a little more subdued than his previous material, with more focus placed on acoustic leaning numbers than hard hitting foot stompers (with the exception of songs like “Trainwrecker” and the final three tracks (which all are instrumentals).
Now, I’ll admit I kind of veer more towards Scott’s heavier numbers, and so while I probably don’t connect to this album as much as I do his other ones, I still think it’s a damn great album all the same. If anything, Scott just went with a different focus for this album, and I respect that.
That’s not even to say that Scott doesn’t handle the more unplugged numbers well though, actually they’re probably some of my favorites on the album. There’s two themes that permeate this record – angels and demons, or rather, sin and redemption, themes that are well known throughout Scott’s discography. There’s a certain sadness to Scott’s voice on “Still Around” that proves even when he’s not loud and in your face, he can still carry a lot of emotional intensity, and that’s why that song in particular is probably my favorite on the record. Like I said before, you also get those signature Biram jams on here like “Trainwrecker” which yeah, is essentially Scott doing what he’s done before, but when he’s this good at it why stop him?
“Long Old Time” is another favorite of mine on the record. It’s a shuffling bluesy number that’s a hell of a lot of fun despite being sad as hell lyrically. “True Religion” is also a fun “true” end to the album that, like “Long Old Time” is a fun bluesy number that Scott excels at. Of course I also enjoyed the trio of “Hit The River”, “Pressin’ On” and “What Doesn’t Kill You” for closing out the record with Scott’s signature thrash riffs and ending the album on a high point.
I won’t say every track here connected with me. “Red Wine” dragged on a little too long and didn’t show Scott at his best vocal performance. “Crippled and Crazy” and “Feel So Wrong” are also tracks that reinforced the main theme of the album while also not really standing out in their own right, and again, part of that is just me also wishing some of these songs rocked a little harder.
But overall, I did like this album a lot. Hell, if nothing else you have to at least respect the fact that Scott does it all by himself (hence the famous “One man band” title). Again, as someone who likes country, punk, and blues, I dig the hell out of material like this, but I also get that it won’t be for everyone. Still, if nothing else, The Bad Testament is an album that finds Biram doing what he does best, and that’s fine by me.