THE first time we at Belfastmetalheadsreunited had the privelege to witness Triggerman we dipped our heads in the time-honoured sense and nodded our bonces in time to their beer-soaked, whiskey-drenched fervour. We had witnessed the dawn of Preacher Metal.
Since then the Derry outfit has grown stronger and tighter with each outing.
Now we have in 2012 their latest platter of delight on our decks and once again the Riff Holds Sway. Hail to the River Gods is an evolution where gradual change has merged the nighty back catalogue of Triggerman's releases into a coherent set of new raucous riff-tastic sounds.
This is a band ready to stomp on the stoner vibe, bash the clichés of biker rock with size ten boots and where singer/guitarist Bap once more is in the pulpit and his dark sermons take us on journeys of mysticism, wakes and geography lessons...
Geography lessons? Right kiddies, if you're asked about precipitation in geography class, or if older listeners want to show off, one wondrous lyric explains rain and the cycle of water life. The title track explains: "The mount feeds the river, the river feeds the sea, the sea feeds the sky..." A nice summary of why if feckin' empties out the heavens here; surrounded by seas and oceans, ringed by mountains and wet. And this is why you must never (at pain of a good kicking) never confuse what Triggerman do as 'Stoner Rock'.
Stoner rock emerged out of the dry desert, with weed and contemplation, with a glazed look and a gently nodding head. Triggerman rip that head off and shit riffs down its neck. The ...River Gods are from the Oak Leaf County and the shillelagh carved from oak is weilded at mediocrity as surely as the guitar and bass of Triggerman are knitted hand in glove withy a stomping drumbeat.
Sure, on 'Wake The Dead' a cap is doffed to Queens of the Stone Age as the sing opens, but then pretty boy Josh Homme has his face seared off by an ode to the tradition of toasting the departed with a good ol' binge.
Opener 'Rage of the Goddess' taps into the power of the 'weemen' in ancient Irish history, but this no shrinking violet goddess, nah, this is a goddess with sharp teeth and nails honed to a point if you mess with her.
By the time you've captured the rage and riff of '...Goddess', 'Rise of the Woodsmen' and '...River Gods' your thirst will have risen and you will only be able to slake it with 'Thon Strange Brew'. A glorius tone poem to the restorative powers of what fundamentalist preachers call 'The Devil's Buttermilk' but we just know as booze.
'Thon Strange Bews' might leave youn hungover and headachey the next day, but as your hands shake you know it was worth every gulped paracetemol and fry up because you had one helluva night, and even though you're not sure how you got home, it was never a beer too many.
'Flower of Life' rips along at a steady, pummelling pace before the album closes with a peak at the place we can only see with satellites, 'The Blind Side of the Moon'. Here Bap opens with a faux American twang, the tempter gently offering us all that we need, all that we want and all the power...sounds like a politician. But as the power rips apart the soft promises the lyric is a rejection of the fake, the frauds and a welcome to freedom.
And it is the freedom of expression that is the hallmark of '...River Gods'.
Pop along to their web site, order yourself a copy and check out the next time you can see Triggerman live. You won't regret either buying the album or seeing the riffs slay in reality. You'll hear Preacher Metal, where the sermon is on theme of the water of life, sometimes known as whiskey, and where you'll just need a beer chaser or eight to make sure you've got 'Thon Strange Brew' of booze and rock.