The Apocalypse Blues Revue are back with their new album, The Shape Of Blues To Come, out on July 20 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group. Following 2016’s self-titled debut, Godsmack’s Shannon Larkin (Drums) and Tony Rombola (Guitar) return with some more bone-shaking blues with Brian Carpenter (Bass) and the shamanistic frontman Ray “Rafer John” Cerbone.
Shannon Larkin discovered Ray Cerbone at a biker bar. The singer had no idea that he was speaking to the drummer from Godsmack, it was just a couple of guys hanging out. “It wasn’t a recruitment at all,” Larkin says. Just two guys who liked to ride, and enjoy music. “It wasn’t like I was a guy in a big band, and he was star struck at all. I went over to Ray’s house with my wife to have dinner, and I happened to see his guitar sitting in the corner. I didn’t know what he did, so I asked him to play a song, and I really loved his voice.”
Grizzled “Rafer John” may be no spring chicken, but the truth is that this is his first band, though he has for years worked as an acoustic blues troubadour. He picks up the story, “Next thing you know, Shannon calls and says that he and Tony are down the road in a recording studio working on a blues song, and they needed someone to sing it. I said, ‘Yeah, I know a few guys who could sing that for you, and he said, ‘no, I want you to sing it! I got in there, sang that song, and the rest is history.”
This is more than a side project, “We’re very excited about this second record. I’ve never seen four wills join so strongly with one intent as I have in this band. That’s something special,” affirms Larkin. Larkin tells of a pre-production meeting with producer Dave Fortman (Godsmack, Evanescence, Anthrax) at The Vibe Recording Studios in Southwest Florida (Fort Myers), in which the two settled into the control room, ingested certain mind-expanding compounds, and they then proceeded to listen to many hours of the records they loved the most. The phrase Larkin comes back to again and again are, “it has to be real, it has to be genuine.” This record is exactly that. It drips with the existential stew of four guys playing together in a small room, in fact, that is exactly much of what we are hearing—the band laid the basic tracks in just one long day, but they captured it all with the cinematic vision and clarity of a great filmmaker.
Larkin continues, “Our mission is to see if Apocalypse can reshape the shape of blues to come. We’re a different shade of blue. Our approach is to write and play as a traditional blues band. Our original influences came from Zeppelin, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, we came to the blues later in life, and we’ve found our groove and sound, and it sounds unique and original to us. We don’t try to hide our rock influences, it comes through creating a new shade of blue.” Six years in, and it feels like The Apocalypse Blues Revue is just getting started.
1. Open Spaces
2. We Are One
3. Hell To Pay
4. Have You Heard?!
5. To Hell With You
6. Nobody Rides For Free
8. What A Way To Go
9. Noumenal Blues