Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, July 30, 2018

ALBUM REIEW: Shotgun Rodeo triumphant on By Hook Or By Crook

ANY band that has a track dedicated to the Riffmeister General, Tony Iommi, are always guaranteed to get a listen here  and we're glad we did as Shotgun Rodeo have produced a flawed but still eminently listenable album, 'By Hook Or By Crook'.

The Trondheim-based four-piece not only have that tribute to Sabs legendary axeman, but are consciously aware of their influences throughout.

The title track nods to NWOBHM and the noughties US equivalent, while 'Blaming the Kremlin', with its overt political message, has the riffs to extend beyond those influences.

It is that political messaging that works well, and awareness of issues - such as the double-barrel blast at keyboard warriors and media manipulation by politicians on 'Bastardize The World' as singer Nino's rage oozes invective.

However, there are moments when the bravado edges too close to the FFDP territory. On 'Shooting Slugs' the excellence of the work by Don Shrediablo (What!) veers too close to what the mags label 'contemporary metal'.

That being said, when Don lets rip on other tracks he proves his worth, such as on the outstanding 'I Am The Silver Bullet', which has all the bravura of metal in its finest 80s like iteration.

Grimmo D.B. (bass) and 'Doomfang (drums) - where do these pseudonyms come from? - are clearly talented in maintaining the momentum for Nino and Don to work upon.

Closing track 'Twist of the Knife' perhaps encapsulates the album best. With the usual thrash dystopian lyrics overlaid with a riff-heavy track, use of pinch harmonics, excellent solos with space and separation to allow the song to work-out all the tropes.

Sure, there are others doing similar, but Shotgun Rodeo do it really well, leaving others in their wake.

Now that 'Tony Iommi' track...it could have been easy to fluff this tribute, but this is really, really enjoyable. Guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser their knowledge of Iommi's background and oeuvre, and a wee joke about 'Technical Ecstasy' make it worth a smile. Sure we all know about Tony - but this makes it the sort of in joke metalheads can enjoy.

With 'By Hook Or By Crook' Shotgun Rodeo faced that difficult 'second album syndrome and passed it with flying colours. Sure, there are a few times when there is too much current US metal influences, but overall you could do worse than give this a listen on a Saturday afternoon before heading out to a gig.

Ohh - and we love the cheesy cover art!

Review by Jonathan Traynor

'By Hook Or By Crook' is released by Mighty Music on August 24th.

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