HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Dirty Rig - Rock Did It

Aah, it fits, that being Warrior Soul's Kory Clarke thrown like a match at the pumps into the rude and rudimentary redneck rock truck known as Dirty Rig. If there's one complaint I've always had of these guys (and, weirdly, Warrior Soul), it was that the riffs were a little too square, simple, obvious, Kiss-like. That's still here, but the explosive production, sleazy bar-room drumming, discombobulated guitar tone, and most expressively, Clarke's huge rock roar avalanche in on the songs turning them booze-happy like Artimus Pyledriver, Hammerlock and American Dog. High On Fire and Fireball Ministry really ought to raise their game to this sort of presentation of what they've got, 'cos they've always had the same problem. What's extra crack in the mushy birthday cake though, is the fact that Kory's lethal wordsmithing is all over the album, lending both a poetic (but effortless) sophistication, a politics (well, 'Rock Did It' and 'Cities Scenes & Thieves'), a humour and a graphic hotness to the caveman backtrack. Helping one get it all the more is a bonus DVD of the band grinding it out in the clubs, Kory looking like a friggin' punk rock Coverdale, with the moves to match. It quickly becomes obvious that once you hear these open, breathing songs live, you'll be a hungover friend for life.
Rating 7.5

Amon Amarth - Wrath Of The Norsemen
(Metal Blade)

Heh heh, damn it if 'Pursuit Of Vikings' isn't the coolest riff since 'Metal Church', and fortunately for you, it's on this mammoth three CD set five times (plus a sixth, in the Making Of segment). Yea and verily, Metal Blade summarily floods your Amon Amarth processing centres (left, up a bit, yeah, right there), with three discs crammed full of shirtless, beard-pulling Viking death. Bloody well five concerts here of some of the most metal-pure melodic/extreme headbanged confection you're likely to experience, Amon Amarth becoming the beloved charmers of the death set sorta like Edguy and Brainstorm are the buds of power. The Wacken '04 material is the most professional (quite the contrast to the pubby clubby Fate Of Norns release show on the same disc three; Summer Breeze is quite large scale too). The almost Wacken-standard Cologne show (gruffly acknowledged "The place was packed!") brings out Vikings and knights with period costumes and a cool 28 minute Behind The Scenes shows the guys putting the demonstration together, on stage, in the parking lot, ha ha... as metal guys are wont to do, staring into their laptops, eating healthy food to try knock off some of that Viking fat. Triumph all around, including the characteristic, catalogue-coalescing orange graphics, and the resplendent five-panel casing. And if you want to join in the congrats, proceed to the warm-wishing Cologne celebration wind-down at the end of disc one, which is sorta jubilant like one of the dressing rooms after game seven of a Stanley Cup final.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 4