American Dog - Red White Black And Blue
Back, ass-backwards, busted up and flat busted, American Dog have seen the wars of late, arriving at this highly anticipated follow-up to their Last Of A Dying Breed debut and Six-Pack EP after the Keith Richards of boogie woogie, guitarist Steve "Flick Of The Switch" Theado got smacked butt-side by a car, ending up with his own six pack of major bones broken along with a hefty 2-4 of cracked up chicken bones and other gizzard-grinding lacerations. But if the man is a quickly healing pile of pick-up sticks, his hums are still bucking, Theado turning in his usual fierce set of past classic rock guitar solos (seriously: if you miss Joe Perry and Billy Gibbons, bring yer bowl) o'ertop of a tone that is fire in the belly, the perfect back-of-the-throat chaser to the scowling vocals of lay-wasting face-paster Michael Hannon and country-solid drummer Keith Pickens. As an album, Red White Black And Blue is a smoother, tastier, more southern rockin' record than the debut, warmer tones all around, Theado's riffs searching and yearning like Angus into the mid-'80s, highlight being the sloppy low-slung lick of Motors Down, while Dog Will Hunt contains slinky, sophisticated blues noodling that adds dimension to the band's gamey game, Swallow My Pride containing similarly note-dense shocks of steel. So yeah, look for Foghat-style slide, swampy acoustic, a spot of Stones, a hint of Hatchet, a nudge of The Nuge, a joyride through the rough part of Angel City, and a whole lot of hi-test bar-fought boogie, bred for hag 'n' scrag drag-racing at sunlight and shed gigs for bikers all over the honest to goodness Midwest. An interesting parallel here... Red White Black And Blue is to the debut what Push Comes To Shove was to Jackyl: burnished gold and golden browns next to fire engine red. Personally, I like the songs better on the first one, whereas this one's got the licks, the breaks, the textures, the intros, segue and pre-chorus or chorus riffs. In other words, the chassis is a little more rootsy and traditional, while the detailing is sweet soul to the ears. See www.outlawrecordings.com for more ammo.
Cathedral - Seventh Coming
Stoner rock original Lee Dorrian is back - and I do mean back - after the curious tuneless squall that was '01's Endtyme, a record that emphasized the band's scraping uncommercialism, and specifically Dorrian's undisciplined crow in the nicht. But Seventh Coming (catchy title - I like that) reverses the jets, Cathedral, on their first for Dreamcatcher (wherefore art thou Rise Above?) turning in a huge recording, fat, groovy, accessible songs but with new sophistication and still, considerable doom and slothfulness. By many measures, Cathedral has managed, over the years, to wrassle themselves one of the most crushing heavy metal sounds on the planet, drums like thunder, guitars like a mountain coming apart. And Dorrian's voice is right in the thick of the climatic calamity, never too precise, Lee sounding like a wizardly hermit peering behind tucked overlapping doorway stones 'neath a weathered field of 'henge. Faves: Empty Mirror, with its monstrous slashing chords and the rock 'n' rollsy Nocturnal Fist, which points to an interesting psyche direction I could envision for Lee and his morose mad monks.
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