Anyone familiar with Dax Riggs’ work in Acid Bath, Deadboy & the Elephantmen, or his solo debut We Only Sing of Blood or Love knows that his music is unfailingly intense. However, on Say Goodnight to the World, he finds different ways to channel that power, emphasizing the magnetic pull of his voice and melodies instead of relying on the blunt force of cranked-up guitars. That’s not to say that Riggs doesn’t rock out here -- he does, especially on the album-opening title track which pairs a bluesy, tumbling solo with decidedly metallic power chords. It’s just that tracks like “Let Me Be Your Cigarette,” “Gravedirt on My Blue Suede Shoes,” and the stormy “No One Will Be a Stranger” are crisper and more nimble than his usual "modus operandi", digging back to punk and rockabilly for malevolent saxophones and pounding pianos that evoke Jerry Lee Lewis and Iggy Pop. Say Goodnight to the World’s quieter tracks are arguably even more powerful than its late-night rockers, with a narcotic haze that can convey creeping dread (“I Hear Satan”) or star-crossed romance (“Like Moonlight,” “You Were Born to Be My Gallows”). For the most part, Riggs pulls off the subtler sounds and emotions of Say Goodnight to the World with ease, with only the cover of “Heartbreak Hotel” getting too slow and somber for its own good. With so many years of metal and hard rock under his belt, it’s satisfying to hear Riggs find new ways of approaching the themes and sounds that have been a life-long fascination.
Heather Phares, Rovi