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Album review: Dax Riggs

The former heavy metal vocalist explores genres but should stick to one

Photo courtesy of Amazon

July 22, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST

*CORRECTION: Goodnight to the World is Dax Riggs' second solo album. An earlier version of this article misstated that this was his first solo album.

For a second solo* release, Dax RiggsSay Goodnight to the World lacks an identity crucial for building a stable listening audience from the get-go. Standard blues rhythms in one track nearly contrast cool psychedelic tones in another. Riggs’ low yet milky singing hardly stays the same through clear tones and reverb effects. A hodgepodge of sounds pay homage to various artists including U2, Tom Waits and Beck. Despite the lack of consistency, Say Goodnight to the World puzzles like a cross word waiting to be figured out.

“I Hear Satan” is a simple tune that swirls as slow as smoke in that cool rock ’n’ roll fashion. It adds a psychedelic touch with a faint but playful guitar incorporating enough color to make the song hold interest. Riggs maintains his temper in “You Were Born To Be My Gallows” by keeping every instrument, including his voice, to a bare minimum to keep that ’60s psychedelia.

Some tracks stand out because of their misplaced personality. “Gravedirt On My Blue Suede Shoes” captures the dirt-under-the-fingernails appeal mastered by Queens of the Stone Age. “Like Moonlight” and “Sleeping With The Witch” ring too similar to melancholy tunes found on Beck’s Sea Change. Riggs adds pop in “No One Will Be A Stranger” that strikes with vocal harmonies and back rhythms awfully reminiscent of U2. But the most surprising homage found on Say Goodnight to the World is Riggs’ cover of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” which weeps in measures half the size and intensity of the original composition.

Together, these tracks fail to compose a consistent package and instead arrange a collage of random songs attributed to the most recent playlist on Riggs’ iPod. Not until “Let Me Be Your Cigarette” does Riggs finally start the party in his own manner. The track starts with a fat, heavy riff, which is perhaps the best and smoothest of the whole record. But this song seems almost too short at 2:48 compared to others that surpass three minutes. What this song holds isn’t just a compact sweetness, though — it upholds Riggs’ heavy metal past.

Riggs weaves in and out among various audiences and doesn’t stop long enough to pique interest. If Riggs wants to see the success of a second full-length, he’ll need to convince the blues aficionados, the psychedelic junkies or the contemporary rock ’n’ rollers to tune in next time.

VVV — Borrow a friend’s copy

Comments on this article

     

    For a debut album? If he wants a second full-length, he'll need to...? I haven't heard the album yet, but if you want to convince people to take your reviews seriously, you might want to do a little research before you publish a lot of wrong information. You link to his "heavy metal past" but fail to realize Dax has released 4 other studio albums since Acid Bath broke up?

    And, btw, No One Will Be a Stranger is one of the songs I have heard, so you'll excuse me when I say huh??? to the U2 comparison. You may be right about the album being uneven, but it's hard to take you at your word when you couldn't even type Dax Riggs into google or wikipedia as you were listening (just once, I'm sure).

    Posted by Bob Guccione on Jul 22, 2010 at 5:07 p.m. (Report Comment)

     
     

    Hi Bob.

    Thanks for your response. I appreciate your insight and constructive feedback. In terms of the debut release reference, I understand Dax has a great discography of others works, and perhaps we should have stressed the fact that this is a solo album.

    I am familiar with Acid Bath and Dax's role in the band, and I made the choice to highlight that instead of his other previous releases and projects. This was a conscious decision to highlight this band because I feel his role in Acid Bath is most noteworthy.

    In terms of the comparisons made to describe the sounds on this album, it looks like we differ in opinions. However, I appreciate you calling attention to the fact this is a sophomore solo release for Dax.

    -JB

    Posted by Jess Blumensheid on Jul 22, 2010 at 5:42 p.m. (Report Comment)

     
     

    JB:

    It's really unfortunate that you don't seem to understand musicians despite your choice of career. I've noticed this in a lot of your other articles/reviews. You seem to lack the ability to see a musician for what he or she is.
    As a fan of Mr. Riggs, I have to say that your review is so far from accurate that I find it odd.
    While you may be correct in this album's weird flow, but that's part of Dax's charm. You said in your article that he should stick to one genre. Do you know how many fans he would lose if he were to do that? This is why his fans adore him, sometimes in an obsessive way. He does what HE wants to do, giving the listener many of his amazing styles on each album. It's what his fans crave, myself included.

    No, i'm not writing this because i'm a fan. I'm writing because after reading many of your very shallow reviews I had to stand up for one of my favorite musicians and tell you to please, PLEASE, learn to write a good review.

    And one for the road-
    Comparisons are awful in music reviews. Awful. The comparisons you've used in this are especially ridiculous.

    One more-
    This version of "Heartbreak Hotel" is far more intense than the original. I'm a huge Elvis fan and even I can admit this.

    Posted by Fae Bones on Jul 23, 2010 at 10:17 p.m. (Report Comment)

     
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