As the legend goes, Robert Johnson infamously started his career by meeting the Devil at the crossroads. By the same token, you could say the Apocalypse Blues Revue began playing at the end of the world. Co-founded by Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin and guitarist Tony Rombola and featuring vocalist Ray "Rafer John" Cerbone and bassist Brian Carpenter, the quartet honors blues traditions, while etching their stamp on the genre in blood. In February 2016, Apocalypse Blues Revue entered The Vibe Recording Studio and cut their self-titled debut in just nine days. Mixed by Dave Fortman, the music conjures up swampy soul colored by gusts of rock ‘n' roll and rockabilly over the course of 12 tracks.
"The Blues Are Falling from the Sky" shuffles along on a powerful beat as the six-string wails in tandem with smoky vocals. "Devil Plays A Strat" grinds on a lead guitar screech, wah-wah cry, ominous groove, and heavy stomp. Elsewhere on the record, slow scorcher "The Tower" features a guest solo from one of Tony's heroes modern blues icon: Eric Gales. "Evil Is As Evil Does" kicks off the record with a simmering Southern-style stomp, painting a picture of evil in the world while "Junkie Hell" paints a picture of addiction's demonic grip.
Then, there's "I Think Not," which stops an antagonist dead in his tracks with Ray's howl. The ominous "Crossed Over" details as Shannon puts it, "Crossing over to the side. It's that last big ride." "Whiskey In My Coffee" speaks to facing the day – but needing that liquid courage. Its push-and-pull is mirrored in the guitar and vocal tension, ultimately espousing a different escape than downing a bottle. "Work In Progress" encapsulates the journey that Shannon, Tony, Ray, and Brian have collectively embarked upon together.
Meanwhile, "Blue Cross" materialized on a day Shannon showed up to the studio rocking some blue suede shoes. They just started jamming, and the song came to life. And everything culminates on their interpretation of The Doors' "When The Music's Over." The songs wonderfully thread together the record's themes reflected in the name.