Every now and then the people who own and operate rock’s Hadron collider are asked to throw two seemingly disparate beings together in the hope that they might generate something new and exciting for us, the slavering hordes waiting to consume whatever is thrown our way. When the experiment works – say, Elton John and Kiki Dee‘s Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, well… you don’t need me to describe the feelings of aural nirvana that flood over us. When it doesn’t, which is far a far more likely occurrence (I’m looking at you, messrs Hetfield, Ulrich and Reed), it has the potential to set back human development by years. Which is why I was worried when it was brought to my attention that American singer Ledfoot was recording an album – A Death Divine – with Norwegian guitarist Ronni Le Tekrø.
Y’see Ledfoot – real name Tim Scott McConnell – the self-styled ‘Master of Gothic Blues’ is very much a unique proposition, a man so skilled in his given field that even the mighty Bruce Springsteen has covered one of his songs… surely pairing him up with Ronnie ‘Knight of the New Thunder’ Le Tekrø, king of Norwegian stadium metal, would be an absolute non-starter of seismic proportions, am I right?
Actually, A Death Divine works on almost every level. Primarily an acoustic affair, Led n’ Le Tekro work superbly well together, with the Norwegian constructing a series of tapestry-like backdrops over which the American unfurls his full repertoire of growls and croons to maximum effect. The two weave a series of complex musical set pieces, and pleasingly often it is indeed the more gothic side of McConnell that comes to the fore. The punky This Town has smears of The Cure running through it’s DNA, whilst the gloriously sinister and frighteningly brilliant Open The Door is surely the greatest Bauhaus song that Peter Murphy never had a hand in writing. Which is a pretty bloody big plus mark in this reviewer’s opinion… Elsewhere the strident Shut Up breaks up the stygian darkness with one of the most glorious choruses you’ll hear all year.
If you’re a TNT fan from way back you might be disappointed to hear that RLT isn’t using this album merely as a springboard for some guitar pyrotechnics whilst Ledfoot struggles to get a look in in the shadows, but please don’t dismiss this album entirely before you’ve given it a listen. Consistently impressive, A Death Divine is actually the work of two master craftsmen, both secure enough in their own skins to take a step back and work together to make the music they’ve come up with work at every turn – and my, how it works…
A Death Divine releases on October 2nd.