Beasto Blanco - Live Fast, Die Loud
Beasto Blanco is the current project by long time Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garric, along side guitarist Chris Latham, and has had a fairly long gestation period. Chuck has been trying to get his own material properly released for some years under various names including 'The Druts' and 'The Barons' but for various reasons it's taken forever, and a new name, for many of the songs on this record to get a proper release thanks to RatPak records.
Bringing in the talents of bandmate Tommy Henriksen to produce and mix the record means it sounds amazing, and roping in more of the Cooper band family in the form of Calico Cooper, Tiffiny Lowe and drummers Glen Sobel and Jonathon Mover just add interest to any Cooper fan.
Few band members over the years, outside the original group, are regarded with as much affection as Chuck, his larger then life onstage persona having become such a large part of the Cooper show for the last 10 years, but Beasto is his first proper chance to stand on his own and show what he can do.
Maybe surprisingly, Chuck plays guitar, not bass, in Beasto as well as handling all the lead vocals. Co-conspiritor Chris Latham presumably handles most of the lead guitar and co-writes much of the album. Jan Legrow is credited on bass while the Drum duties are split between official Beasto drummer Tim Husung and guests Glen Sobel and Jonathon Mover. Tiffiny Lowe provides synths, and backing vocals along side Lindsay Garric.
If you have any familiarity with Chuck and his tastes in music Beasto Blanco will sound pretty much exactly as you would expect them to sound. Pounding heavy metal rock and roll drawing a little from the sound of Motorhead and Rob Zombie while still adding their own spin on things here and there. There's no ballads and few left turns, just fist to the face piledriving riffs with Chuck growing over the top.
Opener 'Il Nostro Spirito' is basically a short intro to the album (and live show?) which builds on the cool 'Mexican bandit' vibe of some of the early promo videos and sets things up perfectly for 'Beasto Blanco' to hit you like a truck. One of the things that makes Beasto great is the way they use the female vocals (mainly Calico Cooper) in counterpoint to Chuck. It creates an identity for the band and basically just sounds very cool.
'Bloodshot' is down and dirty metal. 'California' rides on a distorted bass rumble and almost psychedelic hook with references to Jim Morrison and Iggy Pop (TV Eye). 'Breakdown', the first single/video (see below), brings back Calico to great effect. It's pure Zombie stomp with a hugely infectious chorus that gets stuck in your head for days. 'Vegas Baby Vegas' is possibly the catchiest song on the whole record before personal favourite 'Motorqueen' (co-written by Tommy) takes things over the top with a HUGE Rammstein-esque riff that's as heavy as hell.
'Freak' is a song that surfaced on iTunes a few months back while 'Beg To Differ' is inarguably a pure Motorhead tribute, from the riff to the overkill drums, and could stand on any of their albums. 'Live Fast, Die Loud' has long been Chuck's catchphrase and the obvious title for the record, with more of Calico adding more cool vocal backing, while 'No More Man' winds things up nicely.
Beasto Blanco have a great modern sound while retaining the essentials of a catchy song that sticks in your head. Certainly more 'Brutal Planet' then 'Welcome To My Nightmare', if you enjoyed the former you should love this as well.