Scott H. Biram is the “Dirty Ol’ One Man Band” of blues punk who has been releasing albums since 2000. In the past years he’s been rampaging around like he’s being possessed by an (un)holy spirit and has no intentions of quitting. On The Bad Testament the Texan folk troubadour continuous to examine his own tortured soul.
The Bad Testament pushes blues and country into extremes. It’s about sin and redemption, love gone wrong and all the drinking that comes along with that. Biram’s lo-fi setup together with his raw voice evokes feeling of world weariness. On the album’s opener ‘Set Me Free’ he sings about all kinds of misery while he begs for redemption. Yet, later on he doesn’t seem to follow up on his prayers. On the track ‘Righteous Ways’, Biram is too busy drinking, gambling and feeling sorry for himself. He states that there simply is no time for righteous ways. Yep, Biram is constantly at war with himself between good and evil.
On the other eleven tracks of the 40 minute album Biram touches various forms of outlaw blues and combines it with brutally honest lyrics. Sometimes takes a soft stance like on the minimalist gospel of ‘True Religion’ or the lovesick ‘Red Wine’. In other cases he just wants to kick ass, like on the traditional outlined country jangle called ‘Swift Driftin’, the punk trash blues of ‘TrainWrecker’ or the minute-and-a-half ‘Hit the River’. Biram mixes up blues, folk and punk rock with ease but never forgets his roots. On ‘Long Old Time’ (here he sounds like a full band) and ‘Feels So Wrong’ the blues is flawlessly executed.
Biram raw-sloppy style are shoutouts to long forgotten and the celebrated heroes of blues. Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf meet Sex Pistols and The White Stripes on The Bad Testament. United in Scott H. Biram the spirit of blues is resurrected in 2017 while at the same time the good man also questions the faith and beliefs of mankind.
The Bad Testament is more than a solid sounding work of contemporary blues but also is a songbook made of a lifetime of bad decisions. Biram travels through some of the darkest days of human life but lugubrious sings on ‘Still Around’ that he’s here to stay forever, so you better believe it.
Label: Bloodshot, 2017
- Set Me Free (3:13)
- Still Around (2:48)
- Red Wine (5:17)
- TrainWrecker (2:36)
- Long Old Time (3:48)
- Swift Driftin’ (2:43)
- Righteous Ways (2:51)
- Crippled & Crazy (3:24)
- Feel So Wrong (1:34)
- True Religion (4:02)
- Hit the River (1:27)
- Pressin’ On (2:49)
- What Doesn’t Kill You (3:14)
Scott H Biram on Bandcamp
Review by Wander Meulemans // 170417
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