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Metal soul

Regina rockers Braindead Romeo release sophomore album

Braindead Romeo
The Exchange
Feb. 10
$5; $10 for show and CD

Eighties hair metal is alive and well in Regina, but without the hair, and, well, it’s not the ’80s anymore, either.

Regina rockers Braindead Romeo may not be sporting the luscious locks of musical predecessors Motley Crue or Guns N’ Roses, but their sound and their style is straight from the ’80s, with a modern twist.

“I think we still take a lot from Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue kinda stuff,” guitarist Tim Borgares said. “Guns N’ Roses will do hard rock stuff, plus they’ve got songs like ‘Patience.’ I think we tried to take a bit from that perspective and try to stay to one theme, but have some variety within it. We try to make music that we like to listen to and that other people like to hear.”

Braindead Romeo’s varied music style also finds its way into the bands they perform with, teaming up with the varied styles of Orange Honey, Mejia, and The Segway Jousters for their Feb. 10 album release show.

“I think there’s going to be an interesting variety of music,” Borgares said. “We’ve got some pretty talented bands playing with us for this show. They’re all rock n’ roll acts, but there’s some difference in their styles. It’ll be an exciting show; we try to make the live experience really good.”

A noticeable change with Soul’d Out is that it’s the band’s first studio record, as opposed to Braindead Romeo’s debut release, Live! in the Wild, which was a recording of a live performance except for one track. Brandt said the new release is “a little more crafted and precise,” but he doesn’t believe that “one is necessarily better than the other.” Live albums help to capture the atmosphere of a live performance, but they can also put limits on to what can and can’t be recorded.

“We wanted to see what we could do with the money put down, and what we were capable of with high-quality equipment,” fellow guitarist Andrew Brandt said. “What really came through for us with Live! in the Wild was the fact that you could really hear the energy and intensity of the live take. That really came through for us. It was easy to imagine us storming all over the stage with that one. With Soul’d Out, we had an opportunity to expand the parts more. ‘Comin’ Up Roses’ has something like six guitar parts going at once.”

Recording a live album as a debut release may be atypical, but Brandt insisted live performance is an innate aspect of Braindead Romeo.

“It’s more how we function,” Brandt said. “Our ethos is very being a live-performance band with a lot of energy and a lot of intensity on stage. We really wanted to showcase that right off the bat.”

Songwriting between the two records is something that has changed for Braindead Romeo, whereas the quartet scrapped some of their material between Live! in the Wild and Soul’d Out.

“There are more mature ideas in the songwriting,” Brandt said. “It’s all very current for us. Every track on this album has come up in the last year-and-a-half. We discarded a lot of the songs that were in between our first record and this one, but we really dug into the most meaningful ones for us and that were the best songs for the time.

"It stopped being about copying AC/DC riffs and more about finding our own niche. There was a lot more light and dark swings in the music that would shift really drastically … We started taking off in two directions at once where we were making really heavy stuff and lighter stuff at the same time and diverging from that middle ground that we had been on.”

Nonetheless, Borgares insisted that Braindead Romeo is still sticking to its influences on Soul’d Out.

“[Soul’d Out] got its central theme as a hard rock album,” Brandt said. “We also then tried to experiment and bring more of our fringe influences out a bit more. There’s one track on the album that’s almost industrial metal, another track is all acoustic, and there’s some soundscape stuff too.”

Collaborating on material is something that came about more so in the writing of Soul’d Out, which is an aspect that happened less with Braindead Romeo’s previous release, Live! in the Wild.

“I think the songs that we ended up picking for this album were ones that we had collaborated on more,” Borgares said. “We found that those were the best of the material, and we made sure we spent a lot of time making sure we were getting all the parts right and going back and changing things to make them better. What’s on Soul’d Out is largely the product of collaborations.”

It turns out that living with your bandmates also aids in the collaborative writing process.

“Tim and I have lived together for almost the past two years, and that’s really helped,” Brandt said. “Whenever someone has the beginning concept or core idea, they can whip out a guitar in the living room and say, ‘Hey, what do you think of this?’ We’ve collaborated on the arrangements, what riffs should go where, etc. All but one of the songs were lyrical collaborations as well.”

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