Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Iron grooves, killer hooks - bow to the Big Truck!

WHEN it comes to Trucker Diablo you can be guaranteed of a superb live show, but after the phenomenal success of d├ębut album The Devil's Rhythm, can they repeat it on record, or will they suffer from second album syndrome that afflicts so many bands?

Rather than just take our views on this we enlisted three other reviewers for their take on the Trucker sophmore release, Songs of Iron, which hits record stores and online retailers on May 18th.

But, first, what was our take on it...can the recording live up to the airing of several of these tracks on stages from the Diamond to Tennents Vital?

The answer is a resounding yes!

From opener Red Light through to closer I Want to Party With You this is a statement of intent, a declaration that Trucker Diablo can lay it down whenever and whereever they choose - a band maturing nicely and confident in their abilities to pen great songs.

Heavy vibes, just check out Year of the Truck; choruses to die for, check out second single Drive; power ballads to catch the emotions; check out Maybe Your The One...

There are no weak tracks, rather they compete with each other in quality, enabling the listener to pick their own favourite for repeated plays.

Nods to influences are here, but Songs of Iron is not a slavish rehash of hard rock also ran riffs. Skynyrd and even the Foo Fighters would die for some of these hooks, and many a so-called first division act should just roll over in the path of the Big Truck. In fact the riff off Highway Radio is so much better than anything than Skynyrd or other Southern Boogies acts have penned in decades.

Bulldozer is a slam in the face song pushing the iron to the fore, without sacrificing melody in its ferocity.

There are a few trims that could have been done, as the outstanding Rock Hallelujah could be 30 seconds shorter, but that is only mentioned because we struggled to find any real weaknesses on Songs of Iron.

As much as we were blown over by this we decided to check out what others thought. First up is our student correspondent Nadia, recently returned from efforts to prove that you can drink a whole country dry...

"As every procrastinating student will know there's nothing to brighten a sunny day stuck in the library than a bottle of sweet liquor and good music. After the ever popular summer hit "Drink Beer, Destroy", I was unsure whether Trucker Diablo could top their last offering The Devil Rhythm, but oh how wrong this procrastinating student was…
"As ever with Trucker, joyous riffs come bounding out of my cheap headphones, which manage to make the opening track all the better - it doesn't need fancy equipment, a true rock and roll album, a good start. The defiant "Year of the Truck", reminds us who Trucker Diablo are (like we needed reminding) with riffs left, right and centre, and a chorus that tells us that "noting's going to stop me now", which is good news, this writer doesn't want to see Trucker Diablo go anywhere anytime soon.
"The lead single "The Rebel" we heard first hand at Tennant's Vital 2012, and every time I hear it, it just keeps getting better. A song it's difficult not to smile at when listening to. Tunes follow about love lost and love found, which even with the unrelenting need to bounce when listening to this album, you genuinely feel Tom's heart and soul going into every lyric, from the ballad with a soaring solo to "Rock Hallelujah" (thankfully not an homage to Eurovision winners past), the album reminds you that rock music can be fun, even with a side order of straight faced lyrics.
"Like all good rock and roll albums there are ups and there are downs, but there is not a single song on this offering that can be described as bad, or even mediocre, and every one should be enjoyed with a beer firmly in hand. The band believe in this album, and they're playing each song as if it's their last (which we very much hope it isn't) which just makes it sound all the better. So many bands these days play for the sake of it, these guys don't.
"This is an album that you can't help but enjoy, and with every listen you will grow more and more attached, and with sunny days ahead I can see many a summer barbecue with a group of like-minded hallions and a beer or seven, with Songs of Iron playing out into the evening. If you have't heard of Trucker Diablo yet, WHY THE FUCK NOT?"
Convinced yet? We then sought out then views of self-confessed Trucker fanboy Darren - if anyone can spot a flaw he is close enough to the band to pick it up...
"Alright I’ll play my hand before we start, I’ve an interest here in that I help the Trucker boys out with promotion etc, so over the last 2-3 years I’ve seen a lot of shows, and stuff that goes on in the background that would bore the life out of you if I told you! Having said that, I’ve been busting for people to hear this album, and now its finally getting out there for you, the good people, to enjoy!

"Unlike its predecessor, The Devil Rhythm, a lot of the songs on this album have been honed and fine tuned in a live setting over the last year or two, and it tells. Everything on this album is tight, Tom Harte’s lead vocals, like the song writing, show a growth in maturity and quality that comes from the bands extensive live performance’s over the last 2 years and the experiences gained therein.
"One thing Trucker do not do, is limit their “genre”, their influences range from Metallica and Anthrax to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke and anywhere in-between. Take the opener Red Light On with its pounding bass line (a feature of both Trucker albums is the bass is never hidden, you can hear it riffing along in parity with the guitars), swing up a gear into Year of The Truck which wouldn’t be out of place on a Metallica album, and by the time you hit track 4, current single Drive, which is gaining daytime radio play on many FM stations, you’re into radio friendly hard rock territory...but always with a bite, just check out the solo! Infact every solo on this album has you reaching for your air guitar and making “wanking” faces as you play along.

"Some of my favourite tracks on this album are at the back end, the stomping groove of Whens It Gonna Rain, the Southern country style of Highway Radio, and the awesome double guitar solos of album closer I Wanna Party With You, that rumbles to the end like an 18 wheeler going down the gears.

"Tackling topics from social disorder on Streets Run Red, to (and I quote Metal Hammer) “a beefy number about Axl Rose being a dick” in Not So Superstar, the Lord of all rock vocalists Ronnie James Dio on Rock Hallelujah, to having to break down barriers in life that stop you getting anywhere on Bulldozer, Truckers philosophy is clear, Big Riffs, Big Choruses, Big Bass, Big Solos…….Big Truck!"

But we themn put the album to the biggest test... our Black Metal editor Zakk, who thinks Deicide are pussies and that Gorgoroth need to toughen up a bit.

His view on Songs of Iron...

"Hell yeah - buy it you...." [Editor's note we've deleted the rest of his comments owing to risk of offending public decency, but it was something about sacrificing a goat - at least we think that's what he said - to praise Thor, Satan, Odin, Loki and other deities for Songs of Iron.

So, overall our editorial team here rated it, the man closest to the band spotted no flaws and we think that Trucker have nailed the myth of second album firmly to the front of the Big Truck, were it flaps uselessly in the path of iron grooves and killer hooks. Bow down mortals it's the Year of The Truck - ten out of ten guys!

Songs of Iron is released on Ripple Records on May 14th, launch party at the Diamond Rock Club on May 18th.

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