There is no pretence or illusions when listening to the new album from Illinois rockers The Dogs Divine, quite simply Size of the Fight is one meaty morsel of bold and proud rock ‘n’ roll. Throbbing with eleven slabs of varied and instinctive metal edged rock sounds the second album from the Springfield quartet is an irresistible rampant collection of songs to rouse up the pulse and incite the spirit.
Formed in 2007 the band grabbed immediate attention with after just the one show they were signed to Chavis Records, their debut album Way Of Life released the following year. Then things became a little unsettled with a few line-up changes of members and management etc, and the slow process of raising funds also delaying a follow up to their debut. Plenty of tours and shows kept the attention and excitement coming their way throughout and now with the release of Size of the Fight, a title feeling very apt for the band and the years between the albums, the band has the tool and intent to make a big explosion upon the world and its eager ears.
Size of the Fight released via Mortal Music, as with their debut has their influences openly oozing from each and every track, but this time around the foursome of vocalist Tom Hart, bassist Jim Hart, guitarist Karl Von Heilman, and drummer Jeremiah Ross have created an album that is harder and more aggressive though no less compulsive, fusing more metal elements to their melodic hard rock sounds. The result is a hybrid mix of Motorhead, Pantera, Brand New Sin, and Revoker and though one has to say the release does not bring anything particularly new to the table it is without doubt one of the more invigorating and enjoyable albums heard this year. If you want pure and honest rock ‘n’ roll The Dogs Divine and Size of the Fight is the best place to start.
As mentioned the album is varied and flowing with rock attitude and energy, starting with a real bang with the opening two tracks of ‘Dogs’ and ‘Overnight Sensation’. The first is a straight forward anthemic rock song inspiring fist punching with its group chorus and repetitive head nodding with its metal powered addictive riffs. Tom Hart growls out the attitude and defiance as the guitar of Karl Von Heilman teases and pleases the senses. The latter of the two takes over with similar intent, this time Hart bringing a Phil Anselmo like delivery over chunky riffs and proud rhythms, the bass of Jim Hart especially mesmeric. Such a terrific start that one would expect to find a drop in levels from there on in but there is nothing of the sort just the beginning of distinctly diverse and equally enjoyable slices of rock sounds.
‘FDLF’ with its classic rock/Skid Row flavouring, the southern rock veined bluesy of ‘Gypsy King’, and the guitar powered hard rock sounds of ‘Hell Wouldn’t Have Me’ with a great though brief solo, all show the great variety and influences within the album. Add the cover of Queen’s ‘I’m In Love With My Car’ a track that is the weakest on show but still a admirable job by the band giving it their own identity, and the acoustic emotive instrumental folk beauty of ‘Gussi’, and it is doubtful there has been a release as diverse and equally effective these past months.
Apart from the opening two tracks the two songs that bring limbs to life more than the rest is firstly ‘Brand New Addition’ with its blood pumping drive and in your face energy, again anthemic and stirring it stays in the ear long after the song lays down its last note. ‘One And Only’ follows straight after to keep the energy and thrills coming as its sing-a-long chorus and chest pounding rhythms ensure that its glory grabs firmly and deeply, not the most original of tracks admittedly but who gives a damn when it gives such uplifting pleasure.
It may have taken The Dogs Divine a while to unleash their next teeth barring and jaw snapping album but once Size of the Fight takes its place in the heart all that matters is the here and now and their not to be denied rock ’n’ roll.