Blackwater James- Blackwater James

Blackwater James- Blackwater James

I have a few loose – very loose – connections to Blackwater James, the Atlanta rockers. The connections are just existent enough that I was blown away when I heard they opened for Ratt and The Scorpions. I almost know people who played with famous people! Then I realized that it was Ratt and The Scorpions, two out of hand 80s hair metal bands. With a free copy of this loosely affiliated-with-me music, and a lull in between the arrival of my new, actual Adequacy CDs, I decided to give this review a whirl.

Blackwater James is made up of four mega-talented people, and if you/they don’t take anything else away from this review, take away their pure musicianship. They can all murder their instruments with talent blades. But beyond rocking lots of leather and fucking around with the huge dynamics of hair blues/metal, BJ doesn’t have much going for them in the way of songs. Distorted, cocksure riffs combine with crashing drums and arena-ready vocals in an attempt at a pretty stale sound. The music is incredibly dated. As in, shouldn’t have been made past 1982 dated. They solo; their instruments doing the equivalent of strutting around in leather. And you’ve heard these type vocals your whole life, where Christopher James uses his gifted voice to just try to blast through the ceiling on every song. Ultimately, it comes off as these people trying to one-up each other in hard-rock musicianship, while the songs themselves are devoid of melody. Nothing sticks, as it all runs together as one big lead riff,  without anything in the music that someone could actually hold onto.

“Midnight Train,” “Sick Generation,” and “Taste” have that feeling to them that Blackwater James want to ride them as singles (could be totally wrong about that, though) but all of those songs, along with the rest of the album, takes the BJ formula and just beats it to death. “Stand Up” is a bit of the exception, becoming more of a mid-tempo acoustic blues tune, but then the chorus flares back up into distorted lead-hair metal. I can’t say enough about how well these guys can nail every aspect of their instruments, but the music is shallow pyrotechnics and not much more.