The Unsatisfied – Songs the Belt Taught Us
You don’t toil in Chattanooga’s rock underground for more than two decades without learning a thing or two about preaching the rock ‘n’ roll gospel. And on their fourth album, Songs The Belt Taught Us, the Unsatisfied raise some Southern-tinged glam rock hell like never before.
Regulars at such Atlanta dives as the Star Bar and the Clermont Lounge, as well as numerous other venues throughout the Southeast, the Unsatisfied have definitely learned more than a few lessons below the Bible Belt (which is presumably the belt referenced in the album title). From its Shout at the Devil by way of Judas Priest cover art to its amalgamation of rock ‘n’ roll influences ranging from ’70s punk and ’80s glam metal to searing Southern rock and Lollapalooza-era alternative rock, Songs The Belt Taught Us is like a crash course in rock history delivered with an urgency typical of bands half the age of most of this band’s members.
Leadoff track “The Rupture,” a live favorite of the band’s fans for a while now, quickly sets the tone with its anthemic angst and scorching dual guitars. “The Lovin'” channels one of the Unsatisfied’s more obvious influences, the New York Dolls, with its catchy glam punk sound and piano pounding punch. “Morbius” has a bit of a Guns N’ Roses vibe to it while “Three Cops in a Week” channels Jane’s Addiction with a slightly Southern drawl. And on “Apocalypse of Joan,” with its somewhat darker sound, spastic front man Eric Scealf sounds like a cross between Perry Farrell and Jello Biafra.
Having been on the brink of bigger success for so long, the Unsatisfied has clearly become a labor of love for Scealf and his various bandmates over the years. And even though financial gain and mainstream acceptance have been elusive, the Unsatisfied have definitely persevered through numerous musical fads, personal setbacks, lineup changes and other hardships that would have done most bands in years ago. But Songs The Belt Taught Us is the product of a band that exemplifies the phrase “whatever doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger,” baring the band’s rock ‘n’ roll heart and soul once again. Though the Unsatisfied would no doubt like to eventually be rewarded for their hard work and musical chops, one lesson its diehard fans learned long ago is that Scealf and co. will continue singing rock ‘n’ roll’s praises regardless of how many people are listening.
Songs The Belt Taught Us