The Metal Minute Awarded 2009 Best Personal Blog By Metal Hammer Magazine

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Load of Polythene Says Enough is Enough

Beatallica - Abbey Load
2013 Oglio Entertainment Group
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

The legend of Milwaukee genre splicers Beatallica is familiar to most rock fans, the most important fact being that they have the endorsements of both Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield behind them.  Their fans are known globally as "heshers" and "Beatallibangers."  Not too shabby for a Spinal Tap-ish pseudo career that began as a contest parody and took an improbable life of its own.  If you're one of the unlikely souls coming across this review without knowing who or what Beatallica is, then one gander at the artwork of their fourth official album, Abbey Load should be indicative of what you're in for. 

In the past, Beatallica has presented a cement head's (if mostly harmless) alter vision of famous Beatles songs played in the static key of "ca."  At times, Beatallica have wielded some hilarious nuggets such as "Hey Dude," "Leper Madonna," "Got to Get You Trapped Under Ice" and "I Want to Choke Your Band."  Their sheer balls for issuing All You Need is Blood on repeat in thirteen languages is likewise a high point, albeit that's only saying so much.  If the components of Beatallica weren't sharp musicians coming into this ridiculous venture, they would've been cast away into the ether of a novelty act phantom zone where Dread Zeppelin and Napoleon Bonaparte have long been banished.  Their last album Masterful Mystery Tour from 2009 was not a bad lightning ride from these fools banging from the proverbial hill.  It seemed like Beatallica had engineered a riotous coda from which they probably should've carried their weight to an appropriate fade to black.

Enough wasn't enough, though, and this year Beatallica resurfaces once again with Abbey Load.  Frankly, if you're thinking the title hints at material more watered down than a Coors Light, trust your instincts.  While there are some fun bits of thrash midway through the end of the album, it's evident by the fact Beatallica has this time laid down a strict cover album of Beatles cuts they're in a quandary.  With no real attempt to weave some of their trademark title and lyrical scrambles into their goob goob ga-growl Eggman platters, it merely posits the band has run out of cooking gas. 

Abbey Load is merely Beatles familiars given the amplified treatment with a heavy concentration of Metalli-riffs grabbed from the latter's Load couplet.  For example, "Until it Sleeps" winks into the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" and Beatallica thus keeps the track rolling in low key with a thin resemblance to the original song.  That's the general status quo to this album. 

Beatallica ho-hums through a grungy and blasé take of "Come Together" while they limp through "I Saw Her Standing There," "Help!" and "Please Please Me" with bloodless riffs and the now-tiresome yo-ooooo Hetfield impressions conducted by Jaymz Lennfield.  Let's not go there with "Michelle," ripped asunder (with seemingly intentional poor execution) by the crunch of Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls."  In this case, Beatallica invites you to snicker over their lone external interjection, a morphed chorus tweak, "for whom Michelle tolls."  Yeah, they went there.  Sorry, but these cuts are just nowhere, man.

The album's highlight is a somewhat serious (and well-performed) instrumental take on "Blackbird" yielding a smidge of metal warping to Beatallica's acoustic parlay.  Okay, it is genuinely funny to hear "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window" and "Carry that Weight" thrown through Beatallica's grinding wind tunnels.  Yet Abbey Load represents an end of the line moment for these Metalligoofs, at least on record.  There's a bald absence of the creative zeal that made Masterful Mystery Tour and Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band pretty danged funny joints.

What really reeks on Abbey Load, however, is the band's swipe from Megadeth's "Bad Omen" in the midst of transition between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."  They've already teased their listeners by tooling well-familiar rolling riffs into "Mean Mr. Mustard" found in Metallica's "Four Horsemen" and Megadeth's "Mechanix."  You know, the same songwriting split over two different groups' tunes that continues to fuel the wrath of scrumming pundits over who won the battle of Dave Mustaine's work.  Followed by the "Bad Omen" hijack, you're not sure if this is gonzo stuff or if Beatallica's opened a can of worms they sure as hell didn't need to now that the Metalli-deth war has been put to rest.  Moreover, is Mustaine going to have a sense of humor that some of his fiercest licks bred in the midst of that long-ago feud has been ripped by a Metallica joke band?  You understand Beatallica's jibe, but is this indeed a bad omen?  Probably.  Bad taste, for certain.  Beatllica may want to keep Lars Ulrich's proffered retainer money handy.

Sad but true, Abbey Load has pushed the Beatallica farceur vehicle as far as it's going to go.  Once a pretty funny and talented band of metalhead pranksters, their diehard Beatallicabangers may delight in this album but there's no denying Abbey Load is flatter than a highway flip cat.  These guys will probably sustain themselves as Friday and Saturday night bar sensations since nothing opens beer bottles faster than a good party onstage, but their future memory is in danger of remaining only in theory.  Like the epochal piano crash at the end of "A Day in the Life," this is done.


VVeber said...

enjoyed your article but a few minor thoughts:

'fans are known globally as "heshers"' - they are know only as Beatallibangers, 'heshers' is just, well look it up.

'began as a contest parody '- not accurate my friend. They were performing as 'metallica' during Milwaukee's annual Spoof Fest (20 yrs. this April) and as a gag they handed out 50 CD's they had recorded as if Meatallica was playing Beatles tunes- they did not name themselves Beatallica or planned anything beyond that gag CD handout- you can thank the internet for that and of course D^2.

'it's evident by the fact Beatallica has this time laid down a strict cover album of Beatles cuts they're in a quandary. With no real attempt to weave some of their trademark title and lyrical scrambles into their goob goob ga-growl Eggman platters, it merely posits the band has run out of cooking gas. '- Hhhmmm, guess you've never seen them play live recently-- you would have altered those statements quite a lot if you had.

''Yet Abbey Load represents an end of the line moment for these Metalligoofs'-- I will end my comments here because you are dear sir completely wrong, please please go see them next come time they come around your neck of the woods, I think you will see there is plenty of fuel in the tank-- stay HESH dude!

Beatallibanger #8 said...

Wow, I'm impressed that "The Metal Minute" awarded you the 2009 best personal blog by Metal Hammer Magazine. I don't know what happened 2010, 2011, 2012, but I'm pretty sure you can scratch off winning the award for 2013.

Yes, I am a Beatallibanger and I'll tell you I am one of the people that cracks open a beer because a party is going on on stage. A lot of people don't get Beatallica. They don't understand the intricate work involved to combining 2 great rock bands. Beatallica is NOT a cover band.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion... Beatallibangers around the world know what Beatallica is about! It is a community of hard heavy metal rockers that like to have fun and it's more than that.

Go to one of their shows and you'll know... and want to become a beatallibanger too.


Anonymous said...
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Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Weber and BB#8, thanks for commenting. I respect your commitment and dedication to this band and Weber, you especially made your points with affluence, so I'm inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I've laid out my opinions about Beatallica, whom I thought was a very funny band and appreciated them through this release. That's probably the point that'll be missed by many, that I actually DID like this group and found them humorous through the first three releases.

In this album's case, I just wasn't feeling it and I know the Beatallibangers are going to chew me apart over it. It's all good. If I condemn or praise, I expect dissenting views and as long as people present their thoughts with intelligence and respect, I'm willing to listen or read with the same respect.

As you say, BB#8, everyone's entitled to their opinion, so have a good time at their next gig and despite your petty jab in the beginning, I'll lift a hefty "Prost" to you with a Spaten Optimator in the air.

Thanks, guys/gals.

Beatallibanger #8 said...

I apologize for my petty jab. My response to your review was written in anger and it should not have been directed towards you.

Abbey Load, The CD is NOT what Beatallica would have produced had they had the legal right to mash up their Metallica/Beatles the way they wanted. Imagine the legalities they have to go through to produce a CD with Metallica/Beatles songs!

I happen to know that in order for Beatallica to release their new CD they were restricted to keep The Beatles titles and lyrics the same. No changes were "allowed" except the music. Imagine.

Your review was on the mark. This is not the "BEATALLICA" you heard from yesteryear. This is censored musicianship. Do not fault Beatallica because they were forced to perform differently than they normally do because some stingy record executives decided not to let them have the privilege of changing the lyrics.

I am just a listener. I could care a less where the money goes. I just want to hear the music. Although cool, I think Abbey Load would have been better had it not been censored. I would have very much liked to hear the versions without censorship.

Enjoy that beer, dude!

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

"I happen to know that in order for Beatallica to release their new CD they were restricted to keep The Beatles titles and lyrics the same. No changes were "allowed" except the music. Imagine." Great pun.

I appreciate your integrity this round, friend, so forget about jabs and such. This response was much more well-thought out and that grabs my attention in a positive manner. Thank you.

I'm open-minded to your rationale in this matter. If Beatallica were indeed restrained as you allude, then I'm on your side to most degrees, albeit I'm sure at least from the Beatle side, Ringo and Paul or the surviving estates might be at an impetus with this whole thing--or moreover, the corporate interests in the Beatles catalog are the direct culprits. In that respect, your explanation does warrant enough merit to get me thinking. In some ways, then, I would've liked to have seen Beatallica either drop this project and continue to tour since that's their main bread and butter (proverbially-speaking) or perhaps engineer a new project altogether. They're good musicians, maybe something new can come about with their talents.

The only true gross misconduct I found on this album was the Megadeth rip. If the fences weren't mended between Mustaine and Metallica, I might've thought that was funnier than hell, but it was borderline in taste to my ears. The rest of the album here is perhaps the by-product of frustrating circumstances, but unfortunately, that's going to go against them outside of their diehard supporters.

Anyway, before I ramble on forever, I wish them well in whatever route they push forth from this point. That beer would be great right about now. Enjoy one yourself and take care.