Imagine shoegaze landscapes with hard rock fringes done Southern
style and you can envision what The American Plague's latest
release God Bless The American Plague is like. Produced
by Seva (Corrosion Of Conformity, Dolly Parton),
the album is a steady stream of late '70s blistering rock psychedelia,
recalling underground bands like Mountain and Blackfoot,
but with a modern glaze reflective of Spencer Dickinson,
Gov't Mule, and Valient Thorr.
Band members Jaw on guitar and vocals, Dave Dammit
on bass, and Tilmon Navare on drums, hail from Knoxville,
Tennessee. They debuted in 2001 with their self-titled release.
Their Southern brand of heavy metal is a cross section between
Widespread Panic and KISS, infusing elements of
noize rock and speed metal into their Southern rock folds. It's
a combination that satisfies a niche of fans growing in the South
and finding pockets of fans everywhere.
The band's remake of the single "Ace Of Spades" by
the UK's Motorhead simultaneously mirrors and refreshes
the high energy inherent in the chord shifts and bass dynamics.
It's vocally challenging and musically intense but The American
Plague handles the burden with ease. Speed guitar, shoe-gazed
fuzz, and pounding rhythms abound on The American Plague numbers
like "Burn It Down" and "Highwayman." Their
revamp of '70s hard rock struts have a UFO-tracing along
Creedence Clearwater Revival sensibilities. The thick vocal
resonance of Jaw on "9 Times Outta 10" has a Charlie
Sexton smoothness along misty guitar lanes and a light funk
rhythm. The guitar sequences fire up on "Sympathy For The
King" and adhere to heavy bass tones and solid drum strikes.
A softer tempo carries "War Song" half way through,
then the guitar shreds go wild and the rhythm section pounds brusquely.
The guitar notes race up and down the scale through "They
Had It Comin'" at a fierce speed. The momentum of the instrument
lines on "Doubt" and "Flesh & Bone" purvey
heavy metal grips along melodic progressions, channeling Traffic's
mechanics with The Riverboat Gamblers' zest
for speed. The instrument passages are challenging and possess
a molten intensity as hardcore as Motorhead and as Southernly
clamped as the Allman Brothers.
The American Plague epitomize the underground hard rock movement
brewing in the South, taking influences from Lynyrd Skynyrd
to Motorhead and making a cross section that satisfies a niche
for rock fans who crave heavy metal in their Southern rock.
1. Sympathy For The King
2. What If
3. 9 Times Outta 10
4. War Song
6. Bun It Down
7. Ace Of Spades
8. They Had It Comin'
10. Flesh & Bone
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