Artists: Boyd Rice and Friends
Title: Baptism of Fire
Medium: CD + DVD
To some Boyd Rice is a revered cult figure, an outspoken protagonist, a radical free thinker, a guiding light to the disenchanted, a spokesperson for the esoteric, satanic right, a genius musician and a giant amongst men. To others he’s a blabbering self-opinionated fool. Whatever your thoughts on Boyd, he has you thinking and talking about him, whether it be positive or detrimental, it doesn’t matter, he’s achieved what he has surely set out to achieve and the very fact that everyone in the post-industrial has an opinion on him, shows the importance of one the scenes most ellegmatic and dynamic artists. With a recording history spanning 30 odd years, Boyd has produced a huge array of recordings that have incorporated a plethora of styles, messages and collaborations, however it’s his solo work as Non and his collaborative ‘Music, Martinis and Misanthropy’ release that are perhaps his most positive, ferocious and compelling. Utilizing noise, frequencies and sound along with commanding vocals he has spouted forth his statements of intent to an assemblage of eager recipients.
I’ve been fortunate to be present at one of this live shows, which Boyd delivered with a preciseness and authority that had the audience spellbound until the very last echoes of noise faded into raptures applause. Presented in eight tracks The ‘Baptism of Fire’ CD pulls together the very best of two live shows by Boyd in Los Angeles and Adelaide, where on this occasion he’s added by Douglas P and John Murphy. Covering a range of tracks from his back catalogue, Boyd delivers the goods with a intensity and expertise that you’d expect and with the inclusion of huge percussion arrangements played live by his compatriots, these powerful, almost speech-like songs take on a very military-esque persona to create an atmosphere akin to that of a rousing rally or calling to arms.
Even when the music takes a more relaxed, almost folky turn with the misanthropic hymn ‘People’, Boyd still manages to prevail his message and thoughts with a skill that he has truly mastered. As live releases go ‘Baptism of Fire’ captures the essence and sound of Boyd’s studio work perfectly and demonstrates how he can transfer his sound to the live arena with stunning effect. This is extended to the DVD disc of this collection which captures Boyd live and alone on sage in Bologna, Italy where he presents a hugely impressive and ferocious set that is delivered with such venomous rage and precision you can’t help but be moved by it. Featuring 6 tracks including ‘Scorched Earth’, ‘Everlasting Fire’ and the final track, the mighty calling to arms ‘Total War’, this live DVD shows Boyd in full flow and gives those who haven’t the fortunate opportunity to see his live shows a chance to see how passionate and authorative he delivers his work in the live environment. ‘Baptism of Fire’ is a brilliant collection of Boyd’s live work and demonstrates why and how he has gained the admiration and respect of so many fans.