Leaders and Liars, the second effort by BillyBio certainly reflects the times in which we are living. Its release is almost perfectly timed to coincide with the Russian-Ukraine conflict. Billybio is a solo project which was formed in 2018 by Biohazard vocalist/guitarist, Billy Graziadei. The follow up to Feed the Fire, offers political and social perspectives on difficult situations, where sometimes the only thing we can do is survive.

The album opens with a barrage of guitars with siren like distortion. Billy sings “you push me over the edge, now I’m seeing blackness.” This reflects the overall darkness and intensity of the first track, Blackout. There are points where the power of this song increases as the lyrics “I’m overcome with blackness” open the uncertainties which are prevalent in wartime. This is a fantastic, angry way to introduce Leaders and Liars. This definitely makes the standout tracks list.

Fallen Empires begins with electronic sounds which feels like Anonymous are hacking the servers. “The empire is falling” as Graziadei plays a high-pitched bending guitar solo which leads into heated vocals which almost sounds like irritated rapping. This track combines multiple styles and radiates elements which resemble the sounds of bands such as Korn and Faith No More. The backing vocals blend in well with the overall mix and the bass complements the rhythm guitar to create a very listenable experience. The empire may be decaying, but this song is well constructed.

The title track Leaders and Liars resonates like early Green Day material. Billy brings out the punk coming straight in with outspoken statements and the drums beat with a protesting combination of quick snares and double bass kicks. The listener can easily feel like they are at a demonstration singing slogans. This song has a more mainstream punk atmosphere than other songs later in the release.

The introduction to Lost Horizon feels like we are listening to Billy Boyd (Pippin from the Lord of the Rings trilogy) more than BillyBio. The gentle opening then feels like hell has been unleashed upon the shire. Prepare for an onslaught of noise which is broken up by a few grooves and clean vocals where Billy sounds a bit like Dexter Holland from the Offspring. The album seems to have lost its horizon of quality on this one.

Fans of retro space arcade shooters will love the beginning of Turn the Wounds except the theme of this song is no game. Turning the tide of the album from destruction to redemption. A message of hope within the lyrics. This album really is a Pandora’s Box of styles, which is entirely what the creator of this album intended with its design. This song is the first single from Leaders and Liars and it definitely shows the best of Billy’s writing and musicianship. “Don’t let your actions be guided by fear. I’ve got to turn these wounds into wisdom” is a powerful message, which inspires hope in a world filled with fear and despair. This track is a banger and sure to be a fan favourite. It’s all about turning negatives into positives as much as we can.

Sheepdog is an instrumental which says, “don’t believe everything that you read in the media.” Don’t be a ‘sheep’ as the song lures you into track seven, Deception. The solos are rife in this one and it feels like Slash should enter the building, but Graziadei pulls them off with ease. This song has a more mainstream kind of sound to it and there are some deceptive melodies which convince that Billybio is more of heavy metal band than a punk project. However, the repetition of the word “Deception” throughout the song, reminds us otherwise.

Generation Kill is a very loud song which slays your ears. The punk noise is back vigorously, and the chorus is reminiscent of something which could have featured on Offspring’s Conspiracy of One. There is a very pleasant section at around a minute and a half in which makes you want to start singing ‘Generation Kill’ repeatedly.

Looking Up feels a bit depressing with the opening words, “life sucks, when you’ve got nowhere to turn” and it doesn’t initially impress on the first listen. However, listen again and things ‘look up’ and you ‘won’t look back’ as this will have you dancing in your chair with its melodic charm of positivity. Graziadei balances the irate aura of the previous song with a little something cheerier here.

One Life to Live is another punk track which makes statements for instance, “We have to lead by example and do the best we can.” “I don’t want to live my life compromised by those who seek control” It’s a short song to communicate that we need to make the most of the one life we have. We need to live it as well and as independently as we are able to.

Billy tells the story of things he got up to as a kid for track eleven, Our Scene. This is one of the best songs on the album and the backing vocals are strong. It’s a candidate for a release as a single as it has a catchy chorus and commercial sounding guitar solos throughout. It’s got musical components in there that transport you back to younger times, when nu-metal dominated the radio, yet largely Our Scene doesn’t sound like it’s from that genre, but it hints at it enough to make millennials think about their teenage years.

Just in the Sun is a short, slow song which sounds like a track from Dutch band The Gathering with spoken male and female vocals layered over the top. Billy then comes straight in with track thirteen, Enough. This is fast paced and immediately Billy is making the statement that he has had enough. The song slows down towards the end with some choral vocals, before ending with fast drums and distorted shredding. The tone and speed constantly change throughout the two-and-a-half-minute duration. It is like Billy is saying, “So you’ve had enough of this, so have some of that.”

Remission is nothing more than a filler that feels like being on drugs. There is no high on this song, just cold turkey. However, Cyanide is a destructive, yet encouraging ending to the album which opens with an industrial metal style electronic intro. If you were expecting a cover of the Deathstars song, then you would be wrong, but it’s a brilliant track. If you feel like you are in a dark hole, listen to this and it will pull you out of it. There’s a lot of variety in the instrumentation yet again and an appeal to the audience to “make a change, do it.”

A lot of people will really enjoy listening to Leaders and Liars. Billybio’s sound has a demand which extends far beyond fans of Biohazard, but it won’t have much appeal to certain presidents. Fans of American punk and alternative rock bands which started out in the 80s and 90s will find familiarity in the instrumentation and themes of this album. Think artists such as Cro-Mags, Incubus, Bad Religion and Green Day as possible influences. Overall, this is a solid soundtrack for 2022 and it should feature in the top twenty of alternative charts worldwide.

Leaders And Liars will be out on March 25, 2022 via AFM Records

The line-up for BillyBio is:

Billy Graziadei – Vocals, Guitars

Fred Aching Rios – Drums

Ra Diaz/Dan Manca – Bass

Dan Palmer/Robbie Davidson – Leads

Artist/Group: BillyBio

Title: Leaders And Liars

Label: AFM Records

Out On: 220325

Standout tracks: Blackout, Turn the Wounds, Our Scene

Rating:

By: Bindi Eyre