KissinOn an ever increasing journey to birth new genres and experiences, our beloved Metal has spawned another new one – Dark Country Rock/Metal. Yep! Here it is, playing away merrily like it doesn’t have a care in the world, razzing it’s gnarled, dry tongue at Country, upsetting cowboy hatted devotees everywhere by daring to include distorted guitars, driving rhythms and a Gothic Metal vocalist. And no doubt appalling Metal fans by including County-style acoustic guitars and melodies. But I’m not cynical – nope, I’ve been a struggling musician and if the TV series Nashville is popular at the moment, then why not put a heavier twist on that? Might be an idea worth a few bob!

Any Country influences aside, the first track (and a couple of later ones) come across a bit similar to the Death Rock of Babylon Whores, with much of the rest of the album having the melancholic but catchy feel of Sinamore, Entwine and H.I.M. with the odd splash of Cadillac 3 perhaps. The real difference that the band, have is that all of the songs are acoustic based, but with a heavy attitude and rhythm section…apart from the ones that don’t have the heavy attitude and rhythm section…if you see what I mean – they are the couple of dark acoustic ballads. It all adds up to something familiar…but not quite anything you’ve heard before. The lyrics are dark, the song keys lean to the minor, the vocals are Dark Metal…yet the songs are…kind of optimistic, up-tempo and very catchy (apart from the few that aren’t, if you see what I mean…again…)

It’s certainly Acoustic-based Dark Rock/Metal. The Country tag is probably just within the occasional melody line, and to be honest, if the tag wasn’t so out of vogue, the term Gothic would also have reared it’s mascara smeared head long before now. The band are much more likely to tour with Poisonblack than the Dixie Chicks (for example), but they COULD tour with either! Very shrewd. The album certainly has wide appeal (within a limited audience if you see what I mean…once again…) and has plenty of tracks that get under your skin – though I’m not sure it has a lot of appeal to full-on Metalheads, despite including a rather good version of WASP’s ‘Wild Child’, which reassures us that the band’s allegiances lie with the Metal crowd rather than elsewhere.

Kissin’ Black have the possibility and capacity to be that band that lurks in many Metal fan’s record collection – the album that doesn’t quite fit, but the owner keeps occasionally digging it out with the words “Why the hell did I buy this again??” springing to mind, but then, when he or she plays it, realizes it was because it was just so damn catchy. I have quite a few albums like that – it looks like I have another!

(7/10  Andy Barker)