Rage and Ruin Review thread....

Rage and Ruin Review thread....

Joined: June 22nd, 2004, 6:54 pm

September 8th, 2010, 4:27 am #1

with the album out for a while, there should be some forum members reviews coming in now that everyone has hopefully had the chance to become familiar with the album. Might as well try and keep them all in one thread, so I'll start....


Jimmy Barnes has been around the block several times, been there, done that, and has the scar to prove it. Those struggles and dark times have been revisited on what might as well be called, in loose terms, a concept album. It only takes one look at the titles to figure out something was majorly wrong with the guy, but the songs, while very dark lyrically have the light at the end of the tunnel approach of someone who went there and came back with the hope for a better tomorrow. Its not as dark as it sounds.
Since getting sober, Barnes has been fairly productive as a solo artist with a duets album, the well-received albeit very laid back Out in the Blue, a few live cds/dvds, and chapter three in the Soul Deep series. The one thing missing has been the Jimmy Barnes rock album, and its finally here with some reservationsIts much more varied in tempo than one might expect. Barnes has never done the same album twice, which can be both a blessing and a curse. You never know quite what to expect, so lets get to the songs.

God or Money kicks things off with your typical Jimmy Barnes up-tempo pop rocker thats been done a million times before. Its melodic with a big sing-along chorus, and a fairly modern production sound that carries through a lot of the album. Not a million miles off from the Out in the Blue album either, but with a faster tempo.
Before the Devil Knows Youre Dead takes a turn to very dark lyrics on a song that varies from a jazzy musical base (not far off from fellow Aussie John Farnhams Age of Reason) to a more rock chorus, while remaining mid-tempo throughout. Its not all that commercial of a song, but the lyrics shine brightlyand Barnes is very underrated as a lyricist.
Letter From a Dead Heart stays mid-tempo, but with a very American midwestern rock sound and storytelling lyrics. The chorus rises out of the song without being a major anthem. This style has been done by Henry Lee Summer and John Mellencamp, among others, but its a first from Barnes.
Stupid Heart is the first real surprise of the album. Its ballad #1, and basically a sequel to the brilliant Come Undone from 1995s Psyclone album, which puts it in very good company indeed. The band kicks in after the first chorus, and the tempo varies a bit, with some of Barnes best lyrics ever. A definite highlight, and the start of the most interesting part of the album.
One might expect a hard rock song at this point, but Adam Was Just a Man is a bit of a curveball. Starting off with a mid-tempo bluesy swagger, Barnes comes in with an uncharacteristically low-pitched vocal that heads to a big gospel chorus. Some might not agree with the lyrical content of the chorus, but its a very strong song that explores new territory. Its songs like these last two that give an album depth beyond the initial spins.
Ive Seen It All (Rage & Ruin) throws another curveball, starting off sounding just like mid-tempo Eagles a la Peaceful Easy Feeling. The song proceeds with a somewhat laid-back vocal over the driving drum beat rising a bit for the chorus. Like The Eagles do so well, the song straddles the boundary between country and pop, and stays very likeable throughout with some thoughtful lyrics.
Cant Do It Again is the first proper hard rock song, and this one is a cracker. Very uptempo with a huge sing-along chorus, this one should go down a storm live. It doesnt really fit on any of the earlier albums for style or comparison, but anyone looking for the return of Jimmy Barnes the hard rocker should have a big smile on their face by the time the chorus hits. It just gets bigger and bigger as it progresses, with a long guitar solo leading into the bridge and that chorus. One of the best songs of the year by far.
In complete contast, Time Can Change is a big ballad. Unlike Stupid Heart, this is your typical heartfelt vocal leading to your big chorus. This one could have come from the Psyclone album.
Back to rock with This Aint the Day That I Die. The verses have that modern Midwestern mid-tempo sound again leading to your typical Barnes hard rock chorus. Similar in style to Letter From a Dead Heart, but decidedly heavier.
Love Can Break the Hardest Heart is Ballad #3, yet totally different in style to the others. The verse is a bit faster than you would expect with a low-pitched vocal, leading to a bluesy bridge and a big raise-the-roof chorus and the return of the normal Barnes range. Doesnt really fit on a previous album, but its a very strong song.
The second half of the album seems to be varying back and forth between rocker and ballad, and its rock time again with Turn it Around. This one is a big throwback to the Bodyswerve songwriting book with more than a casual acknowledgement to No Second Prize in style. This will go over very well live, and is the big Jimmy Barnes commercial rock song that hasnt been seen since at least the Psyclone era, if not before. This could go heavier still, but it should keep the rock fanbase happy with some great lyrics and a huge anthem chorus.
Largs Pier Hotel ends the normal version of the album with an Irish-sounding folk-ballad reflecting on the early days of Cold Chisel, with the typical big sing-along Barnes chorus. Writing a song about how cool it was to be with your band has the potential to go very wrong quickly, but this one hits all the right notes and moods, while keeping on the right side on nostalgia. No bagpipes on this one, but you could add them without a problem. Actually, Im somewhat surprised they were left off. Nice song to end the album on.

The extended edition adds a couple of songs that dont really fit the theme (or sound) of the album, but are generally strong on their own.
Navigator has a sound quite unlike anything Jimmy Barnes has even come close to performing in the past. Its a mid-tempo pop song with a huge melodic chorus, and a sound that is very original. It takes a few listens, and then becomes this monster of a song. Very cool indeed.
Taking Time is mid-tempo pop rock with your big chorus that would fit in well on the Out in the Blue album with a different production, and probably would be one of the highlights there. The live version had an electric guitar base as opposed to the acoustic base here, and the song probably sounded better plugged in, but this is very catchy with a vague resemblance to Lover Lover from the Hits cd.
One More Night is a mid-tempo pop country song. Mix Thickskinned from Bodyswerve/For the Working Class Man with a bit of Better Off Alone from the last album, and you are pretty close to the sound. If the idea of Jimmy Barnes doing the country-pop crossover route appeals to you, this is a very catchy song.
Let It Go is not a remake of the song of the same name that appeared on the Flesh and Wood acoustic album. Instead, this is another mid-tempo pop/country song without a clearly-defined chorus, and some high vocals during the bridge. Maybe its past my tolerance limit for country (which, admittedly is fairly low), but Id rate this as the weakest of the songs.

So thats Rage and Ruin in a nutshell. Its certainly not Freight Train Heart, Part 2, but there are some definite throwbacks the late 80s era mixed with the melodic side of Out in the Blue, and some new sounds also. Jimmy Barnes has never made two albums that sound the same, and that trend continues here.
Lyrically, Barnes has improved leaps and bounds from his early days with Cold Chisel (and he wasnt bad then) and gets some pretty serious stuff down within the context of a pop-rock album. I guess all that time under Don Walker rubbed off a bit. The co-writers have brought forth some of his best lyrics ever on this album. Lyrics are often one of the defining features between a good album and a superior one. Too many albums have throwaway lyrics, and its nice finding one that has some depth to it.
Vocally, Barnes hits everything from the low-pitched vocal that he was exploring on the last album to that distinctive wail that has been peeling paint for over 30 years. Nothing has changed much, and hes still a love/hate commodity as a singer, but hes also a very good singer and sounds particularly inspired by this material.

So the question becomes, is this the long-awaited Jimmy Barnes return to rock album? Sorta. It certainly hits that in places and will probably be heavier live like most everything else hes done, but its closer to rock than the driving hard rock Jimmy Barnes is known for. The second half of the album is certainly more rock-oriented than the generally mid-tempo first side, but the quality holds up regardless of tempo. There are more ballads on here than you might expect from a Jimmy Barnes album, but they are all strong, and very different in style. The album doesnt move at breakneck speed like some of his albums, but it doesnt get stuck in a rut of slow songs eitherit stays pretty uptempo throughout.

Basically, Rage and Ruin is a bloody strong collection of very classy songs that should keep fans happily satisfied until the next album hits. Jimmy Barnes has been on a roll since going sober, and this is yet another solid album that has enough depth to stay with you beyond the initial pop-rock melodies. Some songs are fairly immediate, some require multiple listens, but often, the best songs are the ones that it takes a few listens to get to know.

Jimmy Barnes has recorded his fair share of classic songs both solo and with Cold Chisel, but many of the albums have some filler material also. I dont hear muchif anyfiller on this album. The regular version is very solid, and the extra tracks on the deluxe edition stand up pretty well also without falling in to the typical b-sides trap. Im not sure where Rage and Ruin stands in the grand scheme of things yet, but it has to be near the top on general qualitythough placement may vary on mood and/or desire for a particular sound. Either way, its nice to have Jimmy Barnes the rocker back, and these songs should find a good home in the live set for years to come. Be interesting to see what comes next.
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Joined: October 17th, 2001, 1:22 pm

September 8th, 2010, 7:21 am #2

great review Kevin - i agree with a lot of what ypou've said there. nice one. I will type out my views this arvo when i have a spare min...

thanks!
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Joined: July 10th, 2008, 2:40 am

September 8th, 2010, 12:15 pm #3

with the album out for a while, there should be some forum members reviews coming in now that everyone has hopefully had the chance to become familiar with the album. Might as well try and keep them all in one thread, so I'll start....


Jimmy Barnes has been around the block several times, been there, done that, and has the scar to prove it. Those struggles and dark times have been revisited on what might as well be called, in loose terms, a concept album. It only takes one look at the titles to figure out something was majorly wrong with the guy, but the songs, while very dark lyrically have the light at the end of the tunnel approach of someone who went there and came back with the hope for a better tomorrow. Its not as dark as it sounds.
Since getting sober, Barnes has been fairly productive as a solo artist with a duets album, the well-received albeit very laid back Out in the Blue, a few live cds/dvds, and chapter three in the Soul Deep series. The one thing missing has been the Jimmy Barnes rock album, and its finally here with some reservationsIts much more varied in tempo than one might expect. Barnes has never done the same album twice, which can be both a blessing and a curse. You never know quite what to expect, so lets get to the songs.

God or Money kicks things off with your typical Jimmy Barnes up-tempo pop rocker thats been done a million times before. Its melodic with a big sing-along chorus, and a fairly modern production sound that carries through a lot of the album. Not a million miles off from the Out in the Blue album either, but with a faster tempo.
Before the Devil Knows Youre Dead takes a turn to very dark lyrics on a song that varies from a jazzy musical base (not far off from fellow Aussie John Farnhams Age of Reason) to a more rock chorus, while remaining mid-tempo throughout. Its not all that commercial of a song, but the lyrics shine brightlyand Barnes is very underrated as a lyricist.
Letter From a Dead Heart stays mid-tempo, but with a very American midwestern rock sound and storytelling lyrics. The chorus rises out of the song without being a major anthem. This style has been done by Henry Lee Summer and John Mellencamp, among others, but its a first from Barnes.
Stupid Heart is the first real surprise of the album. Its ballad #1, and basically a sequel to the brilliant Come Undone from 1995s Psyclone album, which puts it in very good company indeed. The band kicks in after the first chorus, and the tempo varies a bit, with some of Barnes best lyrics ever. A definite highlight, and the start of the most interesting part of the album.
One might expect a hard rock song at this point, but Adam Was Just a Man is a bit of a curveball. Starting off with a mid-tempo bluesy swagger, Barnes comes in with an uncharacteristically low-pitched vocal that heads to a big gospel chorus. Some might not agree with the lyrical content of the chorus, but its a very strong song that explores new territory. Its songs like these last two that give an album depth beyond the initial spins.
Ive Seen It All (Rage & Ruin) throws another curveball, starting off sounding just like mid-tempo Eagles a la Peaceful Easy Feeling. The song proceeds with a somewhat laid-back vocal over the driving drum beat rising a bit for the chorus. Like The Eagles do so well, the song straddles the boundary between country and pop, and stays very likeable throughout with some thoughtful lyrics.
Cant Do It Again is the first proper hard rock song, and this one is a cracker. Very uptempo with a huge sing-along chorus, this one should go down a storm live. It doesnt really fit on any of the earlier albums for style or comparison, but anyone looking for the return of Jimmy Barnes the hard rocker should have a big smile on their face by the time the chorus hits. It just gets bigger and bigger as it progresses, with a long guitar solo leading into the bridge and that chorus. One of the best songs of the year by far.
In complete contast, Time Can Change is a big ballad. Unlike Stupid Heart, this is your typical heartfelt vocal leading to your big chorus. This one could have come from the Psyclone album.
Back to rock with This Aint the Day That I Die. The verses have that modern Midwestern mid-tempo sound again leading to your typical Barnes hard rock chorus. Similar in style to Letter From a Dead Heart, but decidedly heavier.
Love Can Break the Hardest Heart is Ballad #3, yet totally different in style to the others. The verse is a bit faster than you would expect with a low-pitched vocal, leading to a bluesy bridge and a big raise-the-roof chorus and the return of the normal Barnes range. Doesnt really fit on a previous album, but its a very strong song.
The second half of the album seems to be varying back and forth between rocker and ballad, and its rock time again with Turn it Around. This one is a big throwback to the Bodyswerve songwriting book with more than a casual acknowledgement to No Second Prize in style. This will go over very well live, and is the big Jimmy Barnes commercial rock song that hasnt been seen since at least the Psyclone era, if not before. This could go heavier still, but it should keep the rock fanbase happy with some great lyrics and a huge anthem chorus.
Largs Pier Hotel ends the normal version of the album with an Irish-sounding folk-ballad reflecting on the early days of Cold Chisel, with the typical big sing-along Barnes chorus. Writing a song about how cool it was to be with your band has the potential to go very wrong quickly, but this one hits all the right notes and moods, while keeping on the right side on nostalgia. No bagpipes on this one, but you could add them without a problem. Actually, Im somewhat surprised they were left off. Nice song to end the album on.

The extended edition adds a couple of songs that dont really fit the theme (or sound) of the album, but are generally strong on their own.
Navigator has a sound quite unlike anything Jimmy Barnes has even come close to performing in the past. Its a mid-tempo pop song with a huge melodic chorus, and a sound that is very original. It takes a few listens, and then becomes this monster of a song. Very cool indeed.
Taking Time is mid-tempo pop rock with your big chorus that would fit in well on the Out in the Blue album with a different production, and probably would be one of the highlights there. The live version had an electric guitar base as opposed to the acoustic base here, and the song probably sounded better plugged in, but this is very catchy with a vague resemblance to Lover Lover from the Hits cd.
One More Night is a mid-tempo pop country song. Mix Thickskinned from Bodyswerve/For the Working Class Man with a bit of Better Off Alone from the last album, and you are pretty close to the sound. If the idea of Jimmy Barnes doing the country-pop crossover route appeals to you, this is a very catchy song.
Let It Go is not a remake of the song of the same name that appeared on the Flesh and Wood acoustic album. Instead, this is another mid-tempo pop/country song without a clearly-defined chorus, and some high vocals during the bridge. Maybe its past my tolerance limit for country (which, admittedly is fairly low), but Id rate this as the weakest of the songs.

So thats Rage and Ruin in a nutshell. Its certainly not Freight Train Heart, Part 2, but there are some definite throwbacks the late 80s era mixed with the melodic side of Out in the Blue, and some new sounds also. Jimmy Barnes has never made two albums that sound the same, and that trend continues here.
Lyrically, Barnes has improved leaps and bounds from his early days with Cold Chisel (and he wasnt bad then) and gets some pretty serious stuff down within the context of a pop-rock album. I guess all that time under Don Walker rubbed off a bit. The co-writers have brought forth some of his best lyrics ever on this album. Lyrics are often one of the defining features between a good album and a superior one. Too many albums have throwaway lyrics, and its nice finding one that has some depth to it.
Vocally, Barnes hits everything from the low-pitched vocal that he was exploring on the last album to that distinctive wail that has been peeling paint for over 30 years. Nothing has changed much, and hes still a love/hate commodity as a singer, but hes also a very good singer and sounds particularly inspired by this material.

So the question becomes, is this the long-awaited Jimmy Barnes return to rock album? Sorta. It certainly hits that in places and will probably be heavier live like most everything else hes done, but its closer to rock than the driving hard rock Jimmy Barnes is known for. The second half of the album is certainly more rock-oriented than the generally mid-tempo first side, but the quality holds up regardless of tempo. There are more ballads on here than you might expect from a Jimmy Barnes album, but they are all strong, and very different in style. The album doesnt move at breakneck speed like some of his albums, but it doesnt get stuck in a rut of slow songs eitherit stays pretty uptempo throughout.

Basically, Rage and Ruin is a bloody strong collection of very classy songs that should keep fans happily satisfied until the next album hits. Jimmy Barnes has been on a roll since going sober, and this is yet another solid album that has enough depth to stay with you beyond the initial pop-rock melodies. Some songs are fairly immediate, some require multiple listens, but often, the best songs are the ones that it takes a few listens to get to know.

Jimmy Barnes has recorded his fair share of classic songs both solo and with Cold Chisel, but many of the albums have some filler material also. I dont hear muchif anyfiller on this album. The regular version is very solid, and the extra tracks on the deluxe edition stand up pretty well also without falling in to the typical b-sides trap. Im not sure where Rage and Ruin stands in the grand scheme of things yet, but it has to be near the top on general qualitythough placement may vary on mood and/or desire for a particular sound. Either way, its nice to have Jimmy Barnes the rocker back, and these songs should find a good home in the live set for years to come. Be interesting to see what comes next.
Yes,Very well writen Kevin! You've pretty much summed up a lot of how I've felt even after only listening to it a few times.
I couldn't possibly add anything to your review, but one thing which may be interesting in regards to your question..... "Is this the long-awaited Jimmy Barnes return to rock album?"

Well...I was having trouble copying the album from the computer to my phone, and while seaching for the problem, I noticed in the Genre column of properties, that it is actually 'Alternative'.
Personally, in my opinion of 'rock', I wouldn't call it a full on rock album.

But call it whatever?...I call it Absolutely Bloody Brilliant! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

PS: I was waiting for someone to start a thread specifically relating to reviews of Rage and Ruin.
Thanks Heaps!

Cheers...Lynda
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Joined: May 6th, 2009, 2:06 pm

September 8th, 2010, 1:36 pm #4

with the album out for a while, there should be some forum members reviews coming in now that everyone has hopefully had the chance to become familiar with the album. Might as well try and keep them all in one thread, so I'll start....


Jimmy Barnes has been around the block several times, been there, done that, and has the scar to prove it. Those struggles and dark times have been revisited on what might as well be called, in loose terms, a concept album. It only takes one look at the titles to figure out something was majorly wrong with the guy, but the songs, while very dark lyrically have the light at the end of the tunnel approach of someone who went there and came back with the hope for a better tomorrow. Its not as dark as it sounds.
Since getting sober, Barnes has been fairly productive as a solo artist with a duets album, the well-received albeit very laid back Out in the Blue, a few live cds/dvds, and chapter three in the Soul Deep series. The one thing missing has been the Jimmy Barnes rock album, and its finally here with some reservationsIts much more varied in tempo than one might expect. Barnes has never done the same album twice, which can be both a blessing and a curse. You never know quite what to expect, so lets get to the songs.

God or Money kicks things off with your typical Jimmy Barnes up-tempo pop rocker thats been done a million times before. Its melodic with a big sing-along chorus, and a fairly modern production sound that carries through a lot of the album. Not a million miles off from the Out in the Blue album either, but with a faster tempo.
Before the Devil Knows Youre Dead takes a turn to very dark lyrics on a song that varies from a jazzy musical base (not far off from fellow Aussie John Farnhams Age of Reason) to a more rock chorus, while remaining mid-tempo throughout. Its not all that commercial of a song, but the lyrics shine brightlyand Barnes is very underrated as a lyricist.
Letter From a Dead Heart stays mid-tempo, but with a very American midwestern rock sound and storytelling lyrics. The chorus rises out of the song without being a major anthem. This style has been done by Henry Lee Summer and John Mellencamp, among others, but its a first from Barnes.
Stupid Heart is the first real surprise of the album. Its ballad #1, and basically a sequel to the brilliant Come Undone from 1995s Psyclone album, which puts it in very good company indeed. The band kicks in after the first chorus, and the tempo varies a bit, with some of Barnes best lyrics ever. A definite highlight, and the start of the most interesting part of the album.
One might expect a hard rock song at this point, but Adam Was Just a Man is a bit of a curveball. Starting off with a mid-tempo bluesy swagger, Barnes comes in with an uncharacteristically low-pitched vocal that heads to a big gospel chorus. Some might not agree with the lyrical content of the chorus, but its a very strong song that explores new territory. Its songs like these last two that give an album depth beyond the initial spins.
Ive Seen It All (Rage & Ruin) throws another curveball, starting off sounding just like mid-tempo Eagles a la Peaceful Easy Feeling. The song proceeds with a somewhat laid-back vocal over the driving drum beat rising a bit for the chorus. Like The Eagles do so well, the song straddles the boundary between country and pop, and stays very likeable throughout with some thoughtful lyrics.
Cant Do It Again is the first proper hard rock song, and this one is a cracker. Very uptempo with a huge sing-along chorus, this one should go down a storm live. It doesnt really fit on any of the earlier albums for style or comparison, but anyone looking for the return of Jimmy Barnes the hard rocker should have a big smile on their face by the time the chorus hits. It just gets bigger and bigger as it progresses, with a long guitar solo leading into the bridge and that chorus. One of the best songs of the year by far.
In complete contast, Time Can Change is a big ballad. Unlike Stupid Heart, this is your typical heartfelt vocal leading to your big chorus. This one could have come from the Psyclone album.
Back to rock with This Aint the Day That I Die. The verses have that modern Midwestern mid-tempo sound again leading to your typical Barnes hard rock chorus. Similar in style to Letter From a Dead Heart, but decidedly heavier.
Love Can Break the Hardest Heart is Ballad #3, yet totally different in style to the others. The verse is a bit faster than you would expect with a low-pitched vocal, leading to a bluesy bridge and a big raise-the-roof chorus and the return of the normal Barnes range. Doesnt really fit on a previous album, but its a very strong song.
The second half of the album seems to be varying back and forth between rocker and ballad, and its rock time again with Turn it Around. This one is a big throwback to the Bodyswerve songwriting book with more than a casual acknowledgement to No Second Prize in style. This will go over very well live, and is the big Jimmy Barnes commercial rock song that hasnt been seen since at least the Psyclone era, if not before. This could go heavier still, but it should keep the rock fanbase happy with some great lyrics and a huge anthem chorus.
Largs Pier Hotel ends the normal version of the album with an Irish-sounding folk-ballad reflecting on the early days of Cold Chisel, with the typical big sing-along Barnes chorus. Writing a song about how cool it was to be with your band has the potential to go very wrong quickly, but this one hits all the right notes and moods, while keeping on the right side on nostalgia. No bagpipes on this one, but you could add them without a problem. Actually, Im somewhat surprised they were left off. Nice song to end the album on.

The extended edition adds a couple of songs that dont really fit the theme (or sound) of the album, but are generally strong on their own.
Navigator has a sound quite unlike anything Jimmy Barnes has even come close to performing in the past. Its a mid-tempo pop song with a huge melodic chorus, and a sound that is very original. It takes a few listens, and then becomes this monster of a song. Very cool indeed.
Taking Time is mid-tempo pop rock with your big chorus that would fit in well on the Out in the Blue album with a different production, and probably would be one of the highlights there. The live version had an electric guitar base as opposed to the acoustic base here, and the song probably sounded better plugged in, but this is very catchy with a vague resemblance to Lover Lover from the Hits cd.
One More Night is a mid-tempo pop country song. Mix Thickskinned from Bodyswerve/For the Working Class Man with a bit of Better Off Alone from the last album, and you are pretty close to the sound. If the idea of Jimmy Barnes doing the country-pop crossover route appeals to you, this is a very catchy song.
Let It Go is not a remake of the song of the same name that appeared on the Flesh and Wood acoustic album. Instead, this is another mid-tempo pop/country song without a clearly-defined chorus, and some high vocals during the bridge. Maybe its past my tolerance limit for country (which, admittedly is fairly low), but Id rate this as the weakest of the songs.

So thats Rage and Ruin in a nutshell. Its certainly not Freight Train Heart, Part 2, but there are some definite throwbacks the late 80s era mixed with the melodic side of Out in the Blue, and some new sounds also. Jimmy Barnes has never made two albums that sound the same, and that trend continues here.
Lyrically, Barnes has improved leaps and bounds from his early days with Cold Chisel (and he wasnt bad then) and gets some pretty serious stuff down within the context of a pop-rock album. I guess all that time under Don Walker rubbed off a bit. The co-writers have brought forth some of his best lyrics ever on this album. Lyrics are often one of the defining features between a good album and a superior one. Too many albums have throwaway lyrics, and its nice finding one that has some depth to it.
Vocally, Barnes hits everything from the low-pitched vocal that he was exploring on the last album to that distinctive wail that has been peeling paint for over 30 years. Nothing has changed much, and hes still a love/hate commodity as a singer, but hes also a very good singer and sounds particularly inspired by this material.

So the question becomes, is this the long-awaited Jimmy Barnes return to rock album? Sorta. It certainly hits that in places and will probably be heavier live like most everything else hes done, but its closer to rock than the driving hard rock Jimmy Barnes is known for. The second half of the album is certainly more rock-oriented than the generally mid-tempo first side, but the quality holds up regardless of tempo. There are more ballads on here than you might expect from a Jimmy Barnes album, but they are all strong, and very different in style. The album doesnt move at breakneck speed like some of his albums, but it doesnt get stuck in a rut of slow songs eitherit stays pretty uptempo throughout.

Basically, Rage and Ruin is a bloody strong collection of very classy songs that should keep fans happily satisfied until the next album hits. Jimmy Barnes has been on a roll since going sober, and this is yet another solid album that has enough depth to stay with you beyond the initial pop-rock melodies. Some songs are fairly immediate, some require multiple listens, but often, the best songs are the ones that it takes a few listens to get to know.

Jimmy Barnes has recorded his fair share of classic songs both solo and with Cold Chisel, but many of the albums have some filler material also. I dont hear muchif anyfiller on this album. The regular version is very solid, and the extra tracks on the deluxe edition stand up pretty well also without falling in to the typical b-sides trap. Im not sure where Rage and Ruin stands in the grand scheme of things yet, but it has to be near the top on general qualitythough placement may vary on mood and/or desire for a particular sound. Either way, its nice to have Jimmy Barnes the rocker back, and these songs should find a good home in the live set for years to come. Be interesting to see what comes next.
Beautifully articulated review Kevin.


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Joined: October 17th, 2001, 1:22 pm

September 8th, 2010, 1:52 pm #5


I think Rage and Ruin is a very good album, but stops just short of being a great one. For me, it wasn't hard enough. I do think the songs are well written, lyrically interesting and really well performed.

I'm not a massive fan of the production - even though i loved HeatSoul Deep.F+W etc.. - i just think this one is over-produced. it sonds like they are trying too hard to make a 'classic' sounding record. i prefer Jimmy when he lets loose and has fun.

NOW - here's something a bit contravesial. I think Jimmy's voice has changed. In my personal opinion, I prefer his vocals (approx) 1981-1995.

i am NOT saying he is a worse singer now. I am just saying I prefer it when he sang loud and high. On R+R he seems to sing low and grumbly. I kept wishing for him to kick into top gear and really belt the songs out. Only really once (can't do it again) does he do that on this record.

Maybe this is just the way JB is now. A bit older, a bit calmer, and that's fine. I still have the old albums to listen to.

What i would say is that although this IS a rock record, its DEFINATELY a lot less rocky than previous records, and even the up-beat songs have a country twinge to them. One thing i did like was NO FADE OUTS!

Sadly I think this one might have been our last chance at antoher hard rock album. But never mind! It is still good!

So, in summary, a good solid album with plenty of strong tracks + no real filler. A bit over-produced for my liking.

8 out of 10.

Favourite tracks:
Letter From My Dead Heart
Can't Do It Again
Time Can Change
Love Can Break the Hardest Heart
Turn It Around
One More Night
Navigator

Least Favourite tracks:
God or Money
Seen it All
Largs Pier Hotel
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Joined: June 22nd, 2004, 6:54 pm

September 8th, 2010, 5:17 pm #6


NOW - here's something a bit contravesial. I think Jimmy's voice has changed. In my personal opinion, I prefer his vocals (approx) 1981-1995.
i am NOT saying he is a worse singer now. I am just saying I prefer it when he sang loud and high. On R+R he seems to sing low and grumbly. I kept wishing for him to kick into top gear and really belt the songs out. Only really once (can't do it again) does he do that on this record.
Maybe this is just the way JB is now. A bit older, a bit calmer, and that's fine. I still have the old albums to listen to.


dk,
His voice has changed--I don't think that is debatable. I think it's also a combination of several things. Some drugs are known to do major damage to the voice. You started seeing major effects with the Chisel Last Wave of Summer album (much rougher), bottoming out circa 2000. He regained a fair amount after going sober, but the tone did change a bit.

The other side of this is that people usually lose a bit of range as they get older--and get a thinner voice. Jimmy Barnes has done better than most, but I've noticed both. The back catalog was written pretty high, peaking between Two Fires and Heat. As one ages, it takes longer for the voice to recover when you are singing high. Sing too many shows too close together over a period of time, and you get behind the curve. That leads to more shouting than singing, and starts a very slippery downhill slope that can end with vocal damage. Journey has already had two singers have major issues with their voice from this very issue. They have a hard enough back catalog to sing in your 30s....at 50, it's murder. The back catalog here isn't much better.

There are 2 ways around this. One is to drop the keys of the songs (everything, including vocals is a bit lower-pitched), and the other is to write new songs slightly lower than you used to, so that it is not as vocally taxing. With the change in vocal tone, it's harder to tell, but I'm thinking he is not lowering the keys on the older material, though Bow River on a show last year with Ian Moss did appear to be in a lower key. The Chisel show seemed to be back normal for that song however.

I think it's just the way it is. I'd be tempted to do the same thing if I was the one singing those songs.
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Joined: November 28th, 2001, 1:59 am

September 8th, 2010, 11:40 pm #7

I think Rage and Ruin is a very good album, but stops just short of being a great one. For me, it wasn't hard enough. I do think the songs are well written, lyrically interesting and really well performed.

I'm not a massive fan of the production - even though i loved HeatSoul Deep.F+W etc.. - i just think this one is over-produced. it sonds like they are trying too hard to make a 'classic' sounding record. i prefer Jimmy when he lets loose and has fun.

NOW - here's something a bit contravesial. I think Jimmy's voice has changed. In my personal opinion, I prefer his vocals (approx) 1981-1995.

i am NOT saying he is a worse singer now. I am just saying I prefer it when he sang loud and high. On R+R he seems to sing low and grumbly. I kept wishing for him to kick into top gear and really belt the songs out. Only really once (can't do it again) does he do that on this record.

Maybe this is just the way JB is now. A bit older, a bit calmer, and that's fine. I still have the old albums to listen to.

What i would say is that although this IS a rock record, its DEFINATELY a lot less rocky than previous records, and even the up-beat songs have a country twinge to them. One thing i did like was NO FADE OUTS!

Sadly I think this one might have been our last chance at antoher hard rock album. But never mind! It is still good!

So, in summary, a good solid album with plenty of strong tracks + no real filler. A bit over-produced for my liking.

8 out of 10.

Favourite tracks:
Letter From My Dead Heart
Can't Do It Again
Time Can Change
Love Can Break the Hardest Heart
Turn It Around
One More Night
Navigator

Least Favourite tracks:
God or Money
Seen it All
Largs Pier Hotel
DK I tend to agree with you on the production, You know how DJs take songs
and make them into Disco tracks (hahaha Disco, I'm showing my age) well
I would love to do the opposite to some of the songs (mikey's rock mix hehehe).

However I do love the album, I think your top 7 is good but I would put
"Largs Pier Hotel" under "Time Can Change" on your list..

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Joined: July 26th, 2005, 9:30 am

September 10th, 2010, 3:50 am #8

Hi
The more I am hearing Larg's pier hotel I am loving it. It is a great song. Not Dwayne's favorite.
Bye Sharon
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Joined: July 18th, 2008, 3:54 pm

September 10th, 2010, 4:43 am #9

My fave off the new Album is

Stupid Heart followed closely by
Letter to a dead Heart
Before the devil knows your dead
Can't do it again
Time can change
I've seen it all (Rage and Ruin)
Adam was just a man
Love can break the hardest heart
God or money
Turn it around
Largs Pier Hotel

But I do love them all, I honestly can't really fault any, it's an awesome album. Well Done Jimmy xxx

Cheers
Nic xx
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Joined: July 10th, 2008, 2:40 am

September 10th, 2010, 4:43 am #10

Hi
The more I am hearing Larg's pier hotel I am loving it. It is a great song. Not Dwayne's favorite.
Bye Sharon
I haven't been able to listen the whole album much yet, but I would have to agree with you Sharon. It's high up on my favorites list.
Can't wait till I get the chance to be on my own & blast it thru the house & really annoy my neighbours.
Cheers...Lynda
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