Sick Daze is an album which reminds us that just maybe we all can slip into the mistake of taking our metal and heavy rock too seriously and that dirty rock ‘n’ roll which is just out to have brawling fun, is as potent and enjoyable as any technically and inventively driven proposition. That is not to say that the new album from Canadian stompers Them County Bastardz is lacking skill and open enterprise, but the seven track romp is all about the heavy riot and thumping devilment of old school metal crossed with voracious country bred rock ‘n’ roll.
Hailing out of Leamington in Ontario, Them County Bastardz rouses up the energies and emotions with a sound taking the southern ferocity of a Pantera and Black Label Society and the grooved predation and attitude of a Bloodsimple and Crowbar, and adding it to the roars of a Hellyeah and Volbeat. It is a brew which does not hold many surprises but relentlessly hits the sweet spot if those kinds of flavours ignite the appetite. It is a head-banger’s heaven with all the spicy grooves and toxic attitude you could wish in a mercilessly bruising and contagious encounter. Sick Daze will probably not top many best of lists come December but in favourites line-ups expect the album to be a persistent regular.
Things are instantly careering into riotous behaviour as opening Drive By spins its sonic wheels and unleashes its unbridled energy in a wall of thumping beats from drummer Jim Kay and the grouchy riffery of guitarists Brien Alexander and Mike Rennie. The song hits its intimidating stride within seconds, the dusty tones of vocalist Andrew Watson stirring up air and mischief as bassist Tyler Wickham adds darker predation to the anthemic belligerence. Neck muscles and voice are just as swiftly enlisted as the track continues to raise controlled but insatiable hell, sirens swarming in the background as band and song begin the album’s mayhem.
The great start is straight away eclipsed by the excellent In The Country. Opening with police despatch checking out the identity of the band which leads to a panicked alert, the track simultaneously builds up its rhythmic and sonic defiance, an impending attitude led by the thick vocals of Watson who in turn is backed the band’s equally infectious calls. Its full gait and assault still has a somewhat restrained aggression but is merciless in its stalking of ears and inciting of pleasure, especially with things like cow bell mischief adding to spicy blazes of guitar to further ignite the addictively cantankerous persuasion of the song.
Buzz Kill keeps body and emotions locked and loaded on the album’s weighty temptation; the aggressor providing a rowdy but again controlled stroll with abrasing riffs and vocal attitude speared by a groove which is as virulent as it is predatory. Littered with the scorching scythes of Alexander’s guitar, the track is another formidable antagonist upon Sick Daze but matched and surpassed by the bestial treat Metal For Mark which follows after the skit intro of It’s Not Metal which lies between the two tracks. Volatile and viciously captivating, the ravenous Metal For Mark slips into its fury the raw infectiousness of Rob Zombie with the corrosive essences of Prong. Each spicing up the bootleg brewed rock ‘n’ roll snarling from the Canadian rednecks southern ‘breeding’, with extra irresistible tang.
The best track on the album leaves the closing pair of The Bastard and Rise Up some height to match and truthfully they miss its plateau but with a melodically catchy and anthemic magnetism to the first of the two and the final song offering a grizzly growl of southern rock, satisfaction and enjoyment are overflowing in response to their brawly hell-raising.
Sick Daze is rugged rock/metal which relishes a musical and physical quarrel, and only has the appetite to kick up a storm and lead the listener into salacious devilry. Ok it might not be setting down new adventures as such but there is a time to be reminded what rock ‘n’ roll is all about, and this year’s comes with Them County Bastardz.
Sick Daze is available now via Smokehouse Records digitally and on CD @ http://themcountybastardz.bandcamp.com/releases
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