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72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 6 Critics What's this?

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fifth full-length release for the Canadian punk band [as Billy Talent] features Jordan Hastings of Alexisonfire on drums due to regular member Aaron Solowoniuk's multiple sclerosis relapse.
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  • Record Label: Atlantic
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk Revival, Punk-Pop
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Jul 27, 2016
    80
    Afraid of Heights is their most overtly political statement yet, a highlight in the Billy Talent catalog and perhaps their best to date.
  2. Kerrang!
    Jul 27, 2016
    80
    They might have official veteran status but these old dogs remain as vital and exciting as ever. [29 Jul 2016, p.50]
  3. Jul 28, 2016
    70
    While Afraid Of Heights may fail to break any new ground, if you love this band’s idiosyncrasies, there is plenty to enjoy here.
  4. Jul 29, 2016
    67
    The more interesting moments on Afraid Of Heights come when the band begins to face their own mortality.
  5. Q Magazine
    Jul 27, 2016
    60
    More of the same firework riffs and vexed vocals. [Sep 2016, p.102]
  6. 58
    Despite functionally inelegant song choices (“Big Red Gun”) and filler (“February Winds”), a good deal of Afraid of Heights trades in rapid-fire aggression for a calculated barrage of justified fear (the title track, “Ghost Ship of Cannibal Rats”).
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jul 31, 2016
    10
    Back to the roots.

    Billy Talent presents a refresgingly retro piece of art. With their 5th studio album they definietly show that they
    Back to the roots.

    Billy Talent presents a refresgingly retro piece of art. With their 5th studio album they definietly show that they still know how to produce good oldschool Billy Talent music :D

    A must for Billy talent fans
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  2. Aug 9, 2016
    8
    Afraid of Heights is quintessential Billy Talent. Upon the very first bar of the first song "Big Red Gun", it is instantly recognizable asAfraid of Heights is quintessential Billy Talent. Upon the very first bar of the first song "Big Red Gun", it is instantly recognizable as Billy Talent. Loud but not overly noisy, its a great punch into the album. The Second track - "Afraid of Heights" focuses more on lyrical music with a great story and calms things down a bit.

    Overall, this album is a great mix of ear splitting guitar riffs and anthemic rock, mixed in with some more toned down tracks. Previous recent albums have been borderline tiring to listen to, always going full tilt with no break between quick, loud and simple songs. Afraid of Heights has more in common with Billy Talent I & II than their more recent albums, which is a great change of direction for the band.

    A- 8/10
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  3. Jul 29, 2016
    8
    Afraid of Heights is the 5th studio album from Canadian rock group Billy Talent (formerly known as Pezz), their first record since 2012's DeadAfraid of Heights is the 5th studio album from Canadian rock group Billy Talent (formerly known as Pezz), their first record since 2012's Dead Silence, and their first without drummer Aaron Solowoniuk, who had to temporarily step down to manage a MS relapse. Alexisonfire drummer Jordan Hastings has filled in, both for the album and on tour.

    One of Billy Talent's greatest strengths is their ability to grow and experiment with their music while still retaining their core sound, something that very few artists, ESPECIALLY rock artists, can do easily without sounding repetitive. Does that trend continue? Well, let's look at the songs we've got.

    1. Big Red Gun - An energetic way to start off the album, with a great guitar riff backed by Ben's increasingly strong vocal performance. Unfortunately, the song is somewhat let down by the backing vocals ("Yeaaaah yeaaah yeah-yeah"). Think "Devil in a Midnight Mass" with a bit less punch to it.

    2. Afraid of Heights - I'd imagine that many people won't be fond of this song. I wasn't when I first heard it. But after a few listens on the radio, I've realised that this is indeed worthy of being the title track; a song with an amazing guitar riff with lyrics about being afraid to achieve greatness using the allegory of a failing relationship.

    3. Ghost Ship of Cannibal Rats - This song sounds like it could have been ripped right from Billy Talent II, and that's certainly not a bad thing. Strong backing vocals help to carry this more aggressive song all the way through.

    4. Louder Than The DJ - Aaaaaaaaaaand we hit our first real dud of the album. A song about keeping the spirit of rock alive, this is one of the first BT songs that sounds like anyone could have done it, and probably done it better. It's a shame that this seems to be one of the songs they're really trying to push.

    5. The Crutch - Billy Talent has a talent for writing songs about abusive relationships. What this says about their romantic lives, I won't dive into, but The Crutch continues this trend, sounding far angrier than past relationship songs, and working because of it.

    6. Rabbit Down The Hole - This song is Ian D'sa's baby, featuring some of the best guitar work in the group's history. Ben brings his all to this song as well, but it is somewhat let down by a weak chorus.

    7. Time Bomb Ticking Away - Funny enough, you could probably just flip my feelings about RDTH here. Great guitar work, and a fantastic chorus and pre-chorus let down by weak verses.

    8. Leave Them All Behind - This song, above all, reminds me of "Show Me The Way," in that while it's not a bad song, it's not crazy memorable either. It's perfectly serviceable. Nothing more, nothing else. Just... meh.

    9. Horses and Chariots - BT broke some ground within the group during Dead Silence by including their first song featuring a piano with "Swallowed Up By The Ocean". Thankfully, it seems they understand that that song was amazing, since they're bringing it back to great effect here. Easily one of the strongest songs on the album, this feels like a call to arms. An actual Viking Death March, if you will.

    10. This Is Our War - Billy Talent has never been afraid to get political, and with the state of the world these days, a song like This Is Our War fits in perfectly. It's also incredible, with every member of the band bringing their A-game to this. This is music you can bang your head to while still being about something. Can we give this a music video instead of Louder Than The DJ?

    11. February Winds - I can see this song being one of the more under-appreciated on this album. Which is a shame, because this is, simply put, one of the best songs the group has ever put out. Ben gives his best performance to date, Ian kills it on guitar (especially with the acoustic riff in the bridge), and the bass and drums help carry the rest of this song.

    12. Afraid of Heights (Reprise) - Well, it's Afraid of Heights, so if you weren't a fan of it before, I don't really see that changing. But the piano, again, helps breathe life into this song, and a few lyrical changes completely change the song from a pessimistic view to an optimistic one (turning anger into hope, if you will). Not the strongest song on their album, but still a fitting way to close out the album.

    Overall, I'd probably place this album around the same area as Dead Silence: not quite as good as Billy Talent II, but really, most bands would be lucky to put out something as consistently amazing as Billy Talent II, so that shouldn't be held against the group. When they're on their game, this has some of their best work (February Winds, This Is Our War). That being said, it also has some of their weakest work (Louder Than The DJ, Leave Them All Behind). The group does tend to promote their weaker songs the heaviest though, so don't let that dissuade you. The screaming may be gone, but BT is still a great rock band with their own sound that will never truly be imitated.
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