Black Light Burns
Former members of highly successful multi-platinum bands are usually more than eager to trade on their past accomplishments when starting a new project. Often the musician's credentials proceed any mention of the new group. A notable exception is ex-Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland. In fact, he goes out of his way to downplay his noteworthy achievements." "I would (describe) my previous work as 'knuckleheaded and immature' and basically sort of really heavy party music," said Borland of Bizkit. "Which is never what I wanted to do."
In '01, when Bizkit was still riding high, Borland left to begin, what turned out to be a series of projects that failed to connect. The groups, Big Dumb Face, Eat The Day and The Damning Well, were short-lived and barely noticed. Bizkit was stumbling too.
Bizkit's '03 album, "Results May Vary," with Mike Smith and Bizkit's bassist Sam Rivers handling the guitar duties, was not considered up to par. It reached platinum status (one million sales) after 14 weeks. For countless bands, that would have been a major score, but in the Bizkit world it was tantamount to failure.
Borland was induced to return only after Geffen Records, Bizkit's label, promised to support his solo project, Black Light Burns. His return was highly anticipated but did little to reverse Bizkit's declining fortunes. "The Unquestionable Truth" and the EP "The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1)," became the first Bizkit efforts to peak well outside the Top 10 on the U.S. chart. Though "(Part 1)" sold over a million copies worldwide, only 1/10th of those sales came from the U.S. To top it off, critics were largely unimpressed.
So Borland split again, following heated MySpace exchanges with Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. Geffen also abandoned the Black Light Burns project. That didn't deter Borland, who maintained his role as bassist with From First To Last.
One of the things that had hampered Borland's previous projects was finding a suitable vocalist. He finally remedied that problem by adding singing to his responsibilities.
Black Light Burns was essentially a Borland solo project but he received extensive studio help from a revolving cast that included a pair of Nine Inch Nails vets, bassist Danny Lohner and drummer John Freese. Another crew hits the road with Borland usually being the only constant.
Black Light Burns' debut album, "Cruel Melody," with the single "Lie," arrived in mid-'07. Of the album Borland said, "This is me 'redirecting'."
Borland's next move, surprisingly, wasn't a Black Light Burns follow-up. Rather, he joined Marilyn Manson.
2007 Cruel Melody
2012 The Moment You Realize You're Going To Fall
Borland provides the following assessment of "Cruel Melody." "The record starts real aggressively, but toward the middle it gets a little more hurtful and hurting, lyrically, trying to express painful feelings, but still in an aggressive way. Then it kind of opens up in the end. And that was the purpose: to attack, then explain, then release and be done with it." That just about sums it up.
Anyone figuring that at this stage of the game Borland, desperate for success, would abscond with as much of the Limp Bizkit sound as possible for "Cruel Melody" would be mistaken. While he owns it as much as anybody, Bizkit type songs only show up occasionally; "One Of Yours" and the set's first single, "Lie" (think that's why it was chosen?). Good as these songs are, it's the hyper-Rock - Punk/Surf - almost unhinged "Mesopotamia" and "The Mark" that turn ears. "It's a big drums record, because Josh Freese goes bananas," adds Borland. Well, yeah. The great thing about a drummer like Freese, is that you are going to get more than 4/4 time. Give him something to drive and he will.
The original concept was to have a dark-dirge album with guest vocalists. Bleak lyrics seep out ("face down in the river," "attempting to kill the little boy inside," "gray skies turning black" and "they'll just want us to bleed") but the overall feeling is one of determination to prevail rather than depression or oblivion. Fortunately, the guest-vocalist idea was abandoned. Though Borland doesn't have Durst's leather lungs or roar, his voice can convey emotions with a practiced yet potent viciousness.