Album Review: “Gato Negro” (1996) by 7 Year Bitch

Band/Artist: Megadeth (Vocals: Selene Vigil, Guitar: Roisin Dunne, Bass: Elizabeth Davis, Drums: Valerie Agnew)

Album: Gate Negro (1996)

Genre: Punk Rock

Label: Atlantic

Hello all and welcome to another album review. Today I will be reviewing an album called “Gato Negro” (Black Cat) from the riot grrrl punk band, 7 Year Bitch. This is the bands third and final album. It is also their only album to appear on a major record label. 7 Year Bitch came about in 1990. during the height of the riot grrrl sub genre of punk music. Riot grrrl was a sub genre that promoted female punk singers and tried to move away from the misogynistic attitude that was becoming more prominent in rock music. This album was created in 1996 and 7 Year Bitch disbanded in 1997. So, let us give it a listen and see what they were like.

The History of my Future – This song has a pretty badass riff and the drums aren’t bad. Even the bass is pretty sweet. I think it is a strong opening for a punk album. The vocals are okay, but I think the song itself is pretty good.

Crying Shame – The bass line is good and carries a lot of the song. This doesn’t feel like a song to me more so than a feels like a conversation between you and the lead singer, Selene Vigil. The chorus is a bit too chaotic for me and just feels off to the rest of the song. Overall a pretty decent song.

Disillusion – The bass and the guitar are pretty gritty in this song and I am definitely down with that. The vocals throw me off a bit, I mean they aren’t great. I think instrumentally, the song is pretty good, but I am not a fan of Selene Vigil’s voice. But hey, punk isn’t really known for having the best vocalists, but she definitely does bring the right attitude.

Deep in my Heart – This song is so badass, the bassline is dirty. I like the slow pace of this song, and with the somewhat distorted vocals it all just blends so well. The guitar is minimalist, but it has an important place. It is sneaky in the background, until it isn’t and then it hits hard. For me, the bass is the winner in this song. As far as I can tell, this song is about a break up, but I could be way off. Very good song though.

The Midst – This song has a brutal atmosphere to it. Slower than some of their other songs, but in no way is it any less cool. The song is dirty, raw but also in some ways it is smooth. Each instrument compliments each other. What I gather from the lyrics of the song is that the woman in the story killed someone who was abusive to her and her friends and she acted in self defence, but she knows she can never go back to her old life and she needs to leave her town. A pretty heavy subject and it is told in a bluesy style. As I said a very smooth song and easy to listen to.

24,900 Miles per Hour – From the beginning of this song, you just know it is going to be something special, and you would be right. I love this song from beginning to end. I think musically it is raw, it has attitude and it feels like it is a musical form of saying “fuck you!”. Lyrically, it seems to be a song about a woman losing her mind, as far as I can gather anyway. It tells an interesting story if that is the case. The singing isn’t great, but it is one of those songs that can be forgiven for that, because it has so much attitude and angst and you just can’t help like the song, if you’re into that type of music of course.

Whoopie Cat – I am absolutely in love with the bass in this song. It really does tie the whole song. The guitar work is gritty, almost like chainsaws, but in a good way. The drum beat is simple, but in a song like this, it is effective. The singing is excellent, Selene Vigil’s voice seems to work best when she is giving a lot of attitude, which this song is chock full of. The bass is the shining star, but overall it is a great song.

Miss Understood – This seems like the part 2 of Whoopie Cat. I didn’t really find too much of a difference between the two. I mean musically and vocally, the song still rocks, but it is a little too similar to Whoopie Cat for me to judge it as a song that has its own merits. Its a good song, but it is almost a carbon copy of Whoopie Cat.

Sore Subject – This is a sort of spoken word poetry song and I really dig it. Selene is out front and centre and she really captured me with her soft and almost vulnerable vocals in the song. The band is more in the background, until they kick in and musically the song is fine, but for me, the vocals stand out. I think it could be about alcohol addiction judging by the lyrics, but that is my take on it.

Rest my Head – This song is very grunge and has a lot of attitude. The musical arrangement itself is fairly simple, but most of the time simple is best and in this case, simple is fantastic. If you just want a rock song that you can head bang to, this is one of them. Its raw, dirty and overall a really good song.

2nd Hand – This is definitely not one of my favourite songs on the album, honestly I don’t find it that good. For me, it is just too chaotic and musically I think it is all over the place. There are some okay moments during the song, but overall I’m not that impressed with it.

Jack – Jack is interesting, musically the song doesn’t really do much for me. It is fine, but it is not that memorable for me. I think lyrically it tells an interesting story about someone in an abusive and/or controlling relationship with this person “Jack”. Jack doesn’t have to be a romantic partner, but it is someone who has a great deal of influence over this persons life. I think it is an interesting albeit sad tale and I think you need a song like this to get out those raw emotions of anger and frustration you would feel in that situation.

Final Thoughts:

An interesting album to say the least. There was definitely a lot of emotion and feelings put into this album, but I am truly wondering if they had they talent to back it up. It is all well and good to have that passion, but you need to be able to translate it into something that the listeners can understand and I think on a few of the tracks, the message was lost to chaos and screaming. That being said, there were some songs on this album that showed how talented this band was and I was particularly impressed with the band musically. I am just going to say it, I don’t think Selene Vigil is a good singer, but what she lacks in talent she makes up for in intensity and sometimes that is just as good. Overall an enjoyable album, but you really need to be in the mood for it.

Favourite Song: 24,900 Miles per Hour

6/10

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