Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
Bollocks make; Horror Movie meets Judgement Day in a punk ho
Sambson | North Carolina | 10/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE is the fifth Bollock Brothers album; not counting their numerous singles. This concept album falls in line with Jock McDonald's Catholic obsessions which began early on with "Enchantment," "Reincarnation" and "The Last Supper" b-sides; which were all eventually featured on his LAST SUPPER album. Musically the first half of 4 HORSEMEN is a further continuation of the classic Bollock Brothers sound. There's plenty of the standard Bollock drum beat they've used on every album for the last 30 years, with the same basic guitar sound that somehow hovers between Sex Pistols and Holiday Inn cover band, but this session features an unusually synth heavy mix, even on the rockin' songs.
"Legend Of The Snake" is one of Jock's odd amalgamations of The Garden Of Eden story, Egyptian history, Irish legend and bits of the ancient alien astronauts theory from the book; The Chariots Of The Gods. Even a reference to Jim Morrison as the crawling king snake pops up, which all mysteriously leads to Jock's conclusion that the devil slithers like a snake, constantly trying to ensnare mankind. This rather doctrinal warning is followed by a brief, but hilarious retelling of the Faust legend (through the modern retelling in The Devil and Daniel Webster), but placed in the context of Charlie Daniel's song "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," as the song fades out. Wow! Can you say, huh?
"Mistress Of The Macabre" is obviously another chapter in McDonald's earliest and other most equally prominent lyrical obsession; Horror movies. A description of a woman who loves all things that involve black macabre horror, is followed by a warning that her soul contains the gateway to hell. This song features a rather long 0:55 second sample of some dialogue and score from an unidentified movie.
"Woke Up This Morning..." is a hardly disguised rip-off of Rick James' "Super Freak" with Jock McDonald's patented spoken story lyrics. "I'm now awaiting judgement, no sins will be spared. Take heed people it's time you cared. Pray for Me. Pray for the souls of the faithful awaiting judgement in purgatory." He also encourages us to pray for Brian Jones, Brian Epstein, Otis Redding, and Marylin Monroe; as well as for the souls of our ancestors who could be awaiting judgement in purgatory.
Nothing thus far on 4 HORSEMEN deviates from the established Bollock formula, including the copious chunks of movie audio they like to urhm....borrow. "Faithhealer" starts with a 0:50 second horn fanfare from yet another film, which fades into a 1:45 second synth build-up before the rockin' elements finally drop in. This lengthy intro is our first indication that we're moving into new musical territory for our boys. The story of the faithhealer is fairly straightforward and hinges on Jock's advice that, "It don't matter what the doctor says, All you've got to do is believe." The only thing that might lead one to consider there's any element of irony occuring here are the lines, "Ask the man inside your head" and "Can I put my hands on you?" though that's pretty ambivalent. "Faithhealer" appears to be a straightforward endorsement of miracle intervention for the infirm, as originally written by Alex Harvey.
"King Rat" is the classic lyric from this set. The guitar is nice and raw, but the cheesy 80s synth detracts from the anti-establishment lyric. King Rat is an indictment of politicians and the democratic system that allows them to thrive unchecked. The King Rat domain is a place where "bowler hatted leeches & b**ches drive you insane and King Rat wants to own every part of you." Jock sings, "I charge you false prophets, of crimes against the human race, for your greed and corruptions, there will be no escape...never!" McDonald obviously detests the government, and his use of 'false prophets' and 'let him cast the first stone' continues to show his close connection with the Christian faith, which he feels will ultimately hold them accountable.
The title track, uses the chord progression for "Steppin' Stone," lyrics from "Sympathy For The Devil" and a church choir to illuminate the story of the black angels who came to claim the first-born children in Egypt. This begins an unusual trilogy of songs that deviates significantly from the standard Bollock formula. The instrumentation has abnormally non-rock elements and the lyrics read as an eager anticipation of the final judgement of Jesus Christ. "Four Horsemen" is a plain retelling of Egypt's final plague, told from the point of view of Satan himself. Stealing the same ploy Mick Jagger used, he repeatedly references "Sympathy For The Devil" and at the end commands those who've rejected Jesus Christ to follow him, as the sound of a flaming inferno replaces the music. Yet again, he warns us that the Four Horsemen, "...seek people who've rejected Jesus Christ, remember him? He died to save your soul!" If one weren't told ahead of time that the Bollock Brothers were a "Punk" band, hearing this song would hardly lead you to that conclusion.
"Loud" is a rare beast of a song for the Bollocks; a complete and utter deviation which was apparently written by Vangelis (real name: Evanghelos Odyssey Papathanassiou). "Loud" is a celebration of an idyllic coming judgement day. When all the pointless games of humanity will cease, and there will be nothing but shouts of joy, singing and "shouting together with the freaks." What with it's acoustic piano, angelic back-up chorus and singluar female lead vocals (by Sharon Devlin), "Loud" is an obvious predecessor to what The Polyphonic Spree cooked up 17 years later! The only piece of the song that could be construed as tongue-in-cheek, is the single word 'freaks'. Yet in the context of this strange album, it would seem to indicate that the lyricist considers theirself a 'freak' and feel that on judgement day even the freaks will be on equal footing.
"Seventh Seal" similarly breaks with any previous Bollocks Brothers formula, and is also credited as having been written by Vangelis. The song begins and ends with acoustic piano and transitions to an extremely overdriven guitar that's mixed low behind the prominent synthesizer. In the second verse a synth plays the whistling refrain from Ennio Moricone's Fistful Of Dollars soundtrack, and later on (around the 4:25 mark) he revisits the title track by quoting the "Wooop Woo" chorus from "Sympathy For The Devil." The lyrics are a discription of the Lamb of God opening each of the seven seals to reveal various riders on horseback. Once again he makes some boldly releigious statements like; "I say, Hail Mary, full of grace, praise the name of the Lord to the whole human race!" and "Praise the name of the Lord where ever you go." "Seventh Seal" ends at 6:23. Seven seconds later a little girl sings "The Celtic Song," which welcomes the Scottish football team as they run onto the pitch before kick-off. This song is traditionally sung to the tune of "Come Friends Who Plough The Sea" from the 1879 Gilbert and Sullivan opera, The Pirates of Penzance.
"Return To The Garden..." starts with a bass line that could be from The Doors "The End", which then switches to a straight cover of Iron Butterfly's famous garden song. It's dedicated to Mama Cass. It liberally quotes lyrics from "California Dreaming," Cream's "Tales Of Brave Ulysses", Dean Martin's "Watching The World Go By", Cream's "White Room," Fleetwood Mac's "Green Manalishi" and The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" amongst others. This is basically a 13 minute jam with Jock and the band free associating an improvised medley of cover songs, ending the album on a stereotypical Bollock Brothers thing to do.
So, what kind of conclusions can we draw from an album by the band the Sex Pistols imortalized with the title of their only studio album; who's concept album about the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse comes off as devoutly Christian?! Well Horror; the Bollocks other major thematic topic, could simply point to a preoccupation with the macabre nature of the plagues in the book of Exodus and of the end times in the book Revelations. As obvious as that seems, the number of Bible quotations delivered throughout THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE with hardly a note of sarcasm, gives one pause. Could close mates of the Sex Pistols, (who've appeared on various Bollock Brothers recordings) be devout Christians? What would that indicate about the true character of the self-proclaimed 'anti-christ, anarchists'? There's no way to know but to ask them, I suppose. In the meantime, try digesting this album that, like so many other Bollock Brothers recordings; is most often referred to as a joke. How exactly do you rate something like this?"