This is the first of the last two Echozone physical product holdovers from 2020 I had yet to review. Beat Noir Deluxe is the electro-pop project of Sascha G. from Bolzano/Bozen, Italy. He performs on drums, keyboards and guitar as well as handling the vocals. According to the artist, Beat Noir Deluxe's music blends loneliness and defiance with melodic tunes and lyrics that are mostly introspective, sometimes provocative and always asking for tolerance. 'Crash' is BND's debut album, the title inspired by a serious auto accident in which Sascha nearly lost his life. The album consists of twelve tracks, eleven of which are originals. Most of the songs are sung in English, except "Allein," which is sung in German, and "Emma," in Italian. Sascha is supported by female vocalists Annika Borsetto, Doris Warasin, and Lisa Anesi on some tracks, and also guitarist Thomas Vareso on a couple tracks.
Right from the get-go, there are problems. First, the cover- featuring a black & white Sascha holding a pair of drumsticks and cradling a guitar looks more like someone's grandfather. There are much better pictures of this guy inside this 5.5" x 7.5" 6-panel digipak, posing with some cute goth models no less, so why have a cover pic of somebody that looks like a sad old man? The album opens with the sounds of a nasty car crash, then a beeping hospital life monitor on "Morphine," where the only lyrics you are likely to remember are "The chemical slide is taking me high...hiiiighh..." Here you will get your first taste of Sascha's whiny, abrasive vocals. Uh-oh...and this is actually one of the better tracks on the album. Supplemented by Borsetto's vocals on this one, but as nice as they are, it doesn't help a lot. By the second track, "Velvet Morning," you come to know that this guy shouldn't be singing; flat, dull vocals that won't win any fans. A rather ordinary electropop song that just kind of plods along. "Bleeding" introduces spoke word vocal samples with Trump being most prominent, and that's about the last thing I want to hear after four years of that orange turd. 'Nuff said there about that one. At least "Allein" opens well with some neoclassical strings over heavenly vibraphone, but the Deutsche vocals can't save this electro-march. "New City" has a good strong beat, and that's about the most positive thing I can say about it. Annika's vocals on "Please Help Me" are the best thing about the song, and when Sascha's spoken word crept in, I thought that might be it, but NOoooo, he had to belt it out with emotive singing. Just imagine an average Joe Shmoe in a karaoke bar taking on a tune well beyond his ability, and that's what this sounds like. The tunefulness of the ladies only makes it seem more like a joke. Not just bad, but really, really bad. Laughably bad.
"Never Do What Cannot Be Undone" has a distinctly '80s pop groove, and even sort of sounds like Clan of Xymox, but without good vocals or memorable hooks. After that it becomes apparent that no amount of supporting female vocals are going to save this unless Sascha stops trying to sing, which of course, he doesn't. Beat Noir Deluxe saves the ultimate travesty for last though- a cover of Type O Neg's "Black No. 1," which should have Pete Steele turning in his grave. Now every Chain D.L.K. reader knows this song; it's an iconic goth tune. To do such an underwhelming, dull version of it...well, that's goth metal suicide now, isn't it? Not even any Munsters organ..not even the additional female vocals can save it. Ugh! After that, I just don't know what to say, except that maybe the title should have been 'Crash...and Burn.'