Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

XL vibes? That’ll be Double-Wide

SOME of you who read this column on a regular basis may (or may not!) know that for six years I was a full-time journalist. Even when I sold out to the PR and Communications profession I still penned articles for many a publication.

In penning such articles, drafting text and submitting clean copy one always has to retain a certain professional detachment. One has to take a slightly jaundiced, cynical eye on what you are doing, what you are told, and exercise restraint before raising expectant fingers above the keyboard.

But this is my blog, this is about hard rock and heavy metal. And if I like something, I’m gonna damn well say so, with a hell yeah and horns thrust aloft in between keystrokes.

Thus when Double-Wide’s CD 18 Wheels of Misery landed on the doormat, it was slammed into an unsuspecting car CD player and later copied on to ye olde iTunes for future listening while walking the dog...

There are those that say it takes little to impress me, but they do not know the discarded CDs sent to me for review now decaying in a bottom drawer, the hyperlinks to hopeful contenders that have accorded nary an aural glance and been subjected to that button marked delete on the keyboard.

And, truth be told I do have varied tastes, from the nastiest thrash through to the groove of classic rock.

Double-Wide have established themselves as an act deserving of a place on my iTunes rotations; having already accorded themselves mucho plays on Rock Radio NI.

Not that Double-Wide are easy to classify... They proudly declare their influences: a heady mix of Southern rock with Pantera, Down and even Black Stone Cherry all balled up to create a unique sound.

Check out Dead River and the Devil’s Ride to hear what rock from our wee island can do to the Black Stone Cherry dry county stylings.

And listen to Hell’s Redemption...it emerges from the speakers like the sludge from a Louisiana swamp, slow swagger that snarls dreadfully like Phil Anselmo in a bad mood.

Double-Wide are not just another derivative wannabe acts. Yes the production and mix on this does not always convey the power of the tunes, and the vocal lines are sometimes overtaken by the geetar, but such a slickly dirty geetar tone reeks of commitment to bourbon, beer and bar-wrecking good times.

The subject matter lyrically has that balance between darkness and that nod to the listener that while all is not well we’re gonna have a swell time riding a big truck all the way down to hell.

Title track 18 Wheels of Misery rides that dark highway where blues legends draw their scales from Satan’s fingers at deserted crossroads.

That they have named themselves after a Corrosion of Conformity track tells you a lot about the band.

There is a mysterious area of music where the blues, rock and metal somewhere melded to form a genre that isn’t that easy to define, but is always pleasurable to play and listen to.

A little work on arrangements and slight improvement on production and mixing and Double-Wide could stand shoulder to shoulder with many of the best recent contenders from Norn Iron.

In the meantime I’m thumbing a lift on the Devil’s Ride of 18 Wheels of Misery, hooked up to a Twin Demon powering 18 Wheels of Misery...hell that’s a torturous way to say that I pretty well like the XL sounds of Double-Wide!

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