Brian "Head" Welch – Save Me From Myself [CD + Book]

Band: Brian “Head” Welch
Album: Save Me From Myself
Genre: Christian/Rock
Label: Driven Music

1. L.O.V.E.
2. Flush
3. Loyalty
4. Re-Bel
5. Home
6. Save Me From Myself
7. Die Religion Die
8. Adonai
9. Money
10. Shake
11. Washed By Blood

The opening and closing tracks to Save Me From Myself begin with poppy synth interludes, making you expect Miley or Beyonce to start in with vocals. These interludes, as well as the sparse synth lines throughout the album make it palatable. The first track, “L.O.V.E.” is a strange juxtaposition of heavily distorted vocals and guitars and a simple repetitive keyboard lick. Welch layers his restrained vocals, mixes his screams low and indulges in distortion on each song. It was difficult going into my first listening of Head’s solo project unbiased, as I was turned off by the choice of album art – I can only assume the rendering is an edgy mix between the image of Welch and Jesus Christ.
When asked for an analysis of the album for Under The Gun, Chip McTeiran (drummer of Florida-based metal band Triton) states, “It sounds like Tool and Disturbed had a baby.” It can be agreed that like Tool and Disturbed, Brian Welch brings a sound friendly to alternative rock stations with lyrics containing age-old messages of warning to his target audience: teenagers. The first single to be released is called “Flush,” and it not only starts with samples of someone throwing up and flushing a toilet, but he tacks a similar recording to the end of the song. In the bridge to the song, Welch emotes, “Life is boring/same old story/get drunk, throw up, sleep all day/I am something, I am nothing/I can’t let myself decay.” Most lyrics in the album are straight forward without any attempt at being poetic or witty. Most vocal rhythms are monotone and similar throughout songs, with exception to Welch’s scream, which I prefer over his singing. Clearly ‘Head’ wants to avoid using his natural voice so much that in the track, “Re-Bel,” each verse (and there are 3) is sung by a chorus of children. The 9-minute long closing track, “Washed By Blood” also fills a full 2 minutes with a deep, distorted vocal sample (think the voice of Satan).
The synthesizer used in “Loyalty” and title track “Save Me From Myself” has potential, though it only peeks out from under low, distorted guitar riffs. If Welch went further with the digital noises and let loose with his constrained vocals, his project would sound like the band Orgy, but darker. The issue I have with the album is that it is not modern or new – it’s like he took notes from Nickelback, Evanessence, and Linkin Park and made a ho-hum collection of songs that are meant be played on alternative or Christian radio, and I am sure they will be based on his former fame. Musicians Tony Levin (David Bowie) and Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle) appear on the album, but there are no dramatic build-ups, no searing solos by any instrument, and seldom a breakdown.
Mr. Welch, with all due respect, this album is nothing is garbage. It is impressive and admirable that you produced Save Me From Myself, and that you want to provide a positive message to nu-metal youth. However, your song structure is predictable and tired; we have heard the same rhythms and whispery brooding vocals since 2002. Releasing an autobiography of the same title filled with graphic gospel against the sex, drugs rock and roll lifestyle, it is apparent that you are assembling a package marketed towards edgy youth pastors. What you had with Korn was raw and new circa the early millennium, but all you’ve done is extract a bland fraction of that and repeat for 11 tracks. You were once part of a band that dared to put forth a new sound to my then teenage ears with bagpipes, skat vocals and 7-string guitars, and for this reason is why your album will sell at all. ‘Head’s up – you will be dissapointed Brian Welch if you bother to listen to his solo debut.
*Written By: Billy Table*
GRADE: 2/10

Author: Brian “Head” Welch
Album: Save Me From Myself

Never having reviewed a book before, I am at a loss where to begin. I received this autobiography before having heard Mr. Welch’s solo record and was more than interested to read about this life changing experience. The story told is a bit old; kid from the suburbs finds rock and roll and everything goes wrong. We’ve heard it a million times, but seldom with the first person view or graphic honesty Head gives us.

Save Me From Myself is not simply an inward look at life, but Head basically performs an oral autopsy on who he once was. We go through his childhood, the rise of Korn, and the life he has with his daughter. No rocks are left unturned and what he gives us is gold. From tales of drug use, his daughter singing Korn lyrics, to a moment where Korn was honestly thinking of paying someone to craft them a top 40 hit [in the not too distant past in fact]. Even as Head’s private life swirled, he kept his focus on music an honest one, refusing to sell out his band for a hit.

The real meat of the story, without giving much away, is when Welch found religion. His choice to dedicate his life to the Bible’s teachings kicks off a whole change in his system that many cannot believe before reading the book itself. From leaving Korn to kicking hard drug addictions [with very little troubles even], Head has definitely gone through a lot since he took the religious path.

Overall, Save Me From Myself is definite page turner. Welch’s writing is quite simple, which makes sense because it’s obviously market for teens and young adult fans of his former band. Though the discussion gets a bit graphic, it all goes to make a solid point and paint a very dark, yet clear portrait of a withered soul searching for and finding redemption. If you think you’d like the book, but without the graphic discussion, Welch has re-wrote his tale in a more family friendly version called Washed By Blood that is available now. If you’re a fan of Welch’s previous projects or simply love music, pick this up, you won’t be disappointed.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
Grade: 9/10

James Shotwell
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