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Album Review

Billy Talent – Afraid Of Heights

Billy Talent - Afraid Of Heights

‘Afraid Of Heights’ has you hooked before you even hit repeat.

Label: Atlantic
Released: 29th July 2016

Rating: ★★★★

”They say that rock will never survive,” belts Ben Kowalewicz on ‘Louder than the DJ’. “It’s up to youth to keep her alive.” Billy Talent’s tongue-in-cheek defiance of the dilution of rock is just one part of an album that smacks you so hard around the face, there’s no doubt that their music remains very much alive. And their targets are clear.

They still have a lot to say – whether it’s looking at the environment, or the pressure placed on mental health on the day-to-day – and they’re saying with an almighty bang. ‘Big Red Gun’ declares it’s going to “shoot, shoot, shoot” until the thrill is gone, where ‘This Is Our War’ looks at a nation with “seeds of intolerance” where “countless fools and reckless cowards rally the people in the quest for power”. With a certain billionaire playing on the fear they speak of just south of Canada’s border, it’s not a stretch to see where their confusion and ire is pointed.

There’s nothing particularly speedy resting here, but it’s big – really big. Every song is a declaration, an anthem – between the topics they’re scrutinising, to the wall-shuddering strength of what they’re creating, this is a band on a mission.
While they look below the border, Ben says to stand for something more. As you’d expect, Billy Talent continue to do so, and do it with such a vengeance that ‘Afraid Of Heights’ has you hooked before you even hit repeat. Heather McDaid