Pick Your Rock and Metal

Saturday, July 16, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Triggerman tearing up the riffs on terrific Atomic Rock Number 79

WHEN the formula is right don't tamper with it, don't fritter away the hours trying to re-invent something that damn near captures the essence, don't attempt to vary the sermon - just remember the riff. And, Northern Ireland's riff lords are back.

Yes, as always the riff holds sway with Triggerman, and on new release the riffs roll, sweep over the hills and valleys to pummel the unwary and anoint the willing.

'Atomic Rock Number 79' is where the Triggers once again asset their place as the masters of producing the varied weapons of the axe in a devastating six tracks of heaving rock.

From the opening instrumental, The Drift, there is no doubt that Bap and co have once again brought a mastery of mangling the faces of listeners.

But, unlike many who attempt to bring the groove Triggerman understand the essence of the art - give the space on the arrangement to allow the layers to build to the appropriate crescendo, the breath for a track to have the capacity for some time to allow lyrical sermons in the tradition of the band's preacher metal.

'Big John' will be the track most familiar to fans, having been on the band's live repertoire for almost a year, a rollicking tune with the tale of the gentle giant that lyrically utilises a narrative in a similar vein to Bobby Darin's 'Mack the Knife' and several Bob Dylan tracks but without the malice.

Instead this takes the narrative, underpins it with six minutes of musical delight to recount the tale of Big John that is bound to bring a smile to anyone's lips as Dixie's bass compels your entire body to move and agree with Big John that everything is going to be okay.

What this is album serves up is a celebration of rock 'n' roll, where at one moment you can have your fists in the air and the next moment contemplating a rant harkening for simpler times when the lords of the land guided actions not demanding scientific evidence.

Indeed the mid-paced groove of 'Stone the Philosopher' sees a nice twist in the words while Niall weaves glorious lines.

The pace is picked up on 'Rat Race' which like Cathedral's 'Corpscycle' points out the human cost of being a cog on the post-industrial wheel, Rory and Dixie propelling it along at a frenetic pace, punctuating the riffs with precise backdrops to the rhythm and solos.

Weighing it almost seven minutes the title track - 'Atomic Rock Number 79' venerates the music that binds together the fans, brings bands and the audience together in the ecstatic, electric union of the faithful.

Yes, when Triggerman are laying it down like this your "hips will be moving" and your "feet will be stamping" as you reach the nirvana of rock's "cloud nine".

Whether you are boogieing on the floor, or chilling with Bog John under the sycamore tree, this is an album that further elevates Triggerman's claim to be one of the finest acts in Ireland, if not further.

There is substance here beyond the mere tracks. There is meat on the bone, meat in abundance, with enough trimmings to give you all the good cholesterol; a musical feast to feed all your rock and metal appetites.

But what is clear on 'Atomic Rock Number 79' is that once again Triggerman have produced an album that takes what influences that formed all our musical tastes, wrenched them into their own twisted visions and dispensed with what wasn't needed, then sprinkled a little Derry magic on top.

The time will come when a major label realise that if you want the groove look no further than Triggerman - and if they don't like they say we'll "slap that fucker on the side of the head".

Review by Jonny

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