Blackbelt Yellobelli – Self Titled – Album Review

Blackbelt Yellobelli has released the hard rock album of year. It’s that simple. Yes, I know it’s only August. The self titled debut album, recorded at Rock Garden Studio with Marc Golde, is polished, infectious, gritty, in your face rock and roll in its purest form. Every single song is driven by killer riffs and dynamic solos provided by Todd Schimmers and Mike Busse. Bassist Luke Hartjes makes the most his spotlights as he fills up the bottom end. Just like the rest of the band, Greg Ashauer seemingly has the right beat for every moment. In addition to rhythm guitar, Busse supplies a classic rock voice that is powerful with a nice range that really brings the emotion to these songs.

The energy and sonic assault on your ears never lets up on this album. It’s hard to pick out a standout track, when all 10 songs are standout tracks in their own right, but we’ll go with “Never Around (Gagball)”. The verses are just bouncy and danceable, that will immediately remind you of a popular Queens of the Stone Age song. The tune eventually goes into a big anthemic chorus just before a bridge where the band literally explodes into a furious rock frenzy, with Hartjes hammering out the expedited bass line, as Schimmers utilizes his wah pedal to perfection, and Busse belting out lines like “Tell me now, what can’t you see?!?!”

If you enjoy any kind of rock music, this is one of those albums where your ears will instantly perk up upon hearing the first few notes. They have “it”. They ooze the “it”. Whatever “it” is, they have the proverbial “it” and they have it in spades. This may be their debut album, but you can instantly tell that the band members are all seasoned musicians. The songwriting is exceptional, and the production on the album is outstanding. There is so much energy in this album, and that’s not an easy thing to capture on a record. Any rock fan has got to hear this album. And if you listen to it at any volume other than 11, you’re only hurting yourself.

-Sam