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by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

American Dog - Last Of A Dying Breed
(Outlaw Entertainment)

If the leather-winged godz of rock 'n' roll know their low test from high test, you will one day see American Dog supporting (in the true sense of the word) Motorhead or better yet, AC/DC on a triumphant world criss-cross. Seriously, these guys are big Motorhead fans. They don't sound like Motorhead, but if I was to walk up to Lemmy (a man who does not suffer fools gladly), I would have no problem handing him this and say "Here's your new tourmates. You won't regret it for a minute. They'll keep you entertained throughout any tough mid-America slog, and they'll remind you why you matter, as if you needed telling." Grab it and stab it hardradio crew, this is the real thing, lowdown 'n' dirty 1100cc dirtbag rock that sounds like Thorogood buckshot by Lemmy, Dee Snider blasting his way through Deadly Tedly circa '76, or AC/DC juggled and jostled by the hungriest jean jacket soldiers on the bottom rung of the NWOBHM. Kicking off with Barely Half Alive, American Dog grab the tables in the tavern and frisbee them out the door, Radar Lovin' their way through this quick metal shooter before easing into the chugging grooves of Last Of A Dying Breed. Lusty redneck hee haw'er Drank Too Much cameos Eric Moore of the Godz (who along with Pete Way and himself, Michael Hannon calls "the drunken bass players of Columbus, Ohio"), offering tons of hooks and a vocal performance from Michael that is the greatest booze blues this side of Jackyl and oddly enough, that wee Hall Aflame record from Metal Church's Kurt Vanderhoof from back in '91. Elsewhere, the grooves and the hooks keep sloshing over the top of the pitcher, striking a boozecan blend between the best southern boogie and lost acts like Angel City, who American Dog have been known to cover (speaking of covers: check out the rippin' Under The Blade included here). Total veterans who can wipe the floor live with most bands, American Dog have a collection of songs here that are perfect kernels of alcohol wisdom, forged in the spirit of heartland rock 'n' roll and scads and scads of no bullshit heavy metal. As a result, I just can't stop playing the thing, and playing it loud like a 17-year-old geek clearing the carbons on his Dodge Duster's new trunk-battery powered subwoofer system. Pacing, sequencing, it's all here. Now only if it was a little longer (hence the single mark short of perfection). Email outlaw@istar.ca for more info or go to http://home.istar.ca/~outlaw, or go to the next biker show with Nazareth or Hatchet or BOC headlining and watch these three lightning rods frazzle, steal and convert. Uh, now. As a caveat, when you buy and thoroughly trainwreck your life listening to this sucka, you will see that I wrote the liner notes for it. Because of that, I wasn't going to review it, but now that I've witnessed the insane rock 'n' roll gasworks of these guys live, it's time to spill the beans and sod the incongruity of my minor involvement in the life of Dog. I wrote the notes 'cos I believe. And I must indeed believe, because six months after receiving the band's demo tape, it's still my Camry master blaster, last doing ripped duty two hours ago on my way to and fro to talk to Udo and Stefan, just after an hour on the horn with Ronnie Montrose, and earlier in the aft, Andy Dawson from Savage, another band you should know. Uh, now. And to you journo's out there, get Hannon on the talkbox. He'll set you right.
Rating 10

(Nuclear Blast)

Metal Church's Kurdt Vanderhoof has quietly and sometimes not so quietly been building a legend as one of metal's great bricklayers, sweat-equity working the foundation of the genre through his main band, non-nonsense redneckers Hall Aflame and this class practical act. Originally released on import (Steamhammer/SPV) in '97, Vanderhoof now arrives remastered for American shores, along with a bonus track previously available for Japan only, a blended and behooved cover of Purple classic Burn, which makes great use of key pro Brian Cokeley's expert grasp of historical tones, as well as hotshot vocalist Damon Albright and his Glenn Hughes pliability (bit of Dave Peverett in there too). Truly worthy of reissue, Vanderhoof is a traditional, metallic smorg of expert sounds, slightly rural, slightly retro, very melodic but as belies Kurdt's skill level and preferences, nothing to do with hair metal, despite that description. A cult classic three years ago, and still fresh, sincere and grounded in metal's worthier characteristics now into 2000.
Rating 8.5

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