Alabama Thunderpussy – Open Fire
|By Gautham Khandige|
|Friday, 14 September 2007|
|Alabama Thunderpussy has always existed on the periphery of my stoner rock radar. The one album I’d heard till date, 2002′s Staring At The Divine was a good though not spectacular album. I never heard Fulton Hill which was the next album released in 2004 and only got interested in this band when I read somewhere that former Exhorder and Floodgate vocalist Kyle Thomas had joined the band.The band fired the previous vocalist cause he was on drugs all the time and then holed up in a basement to write the songs on this album. The songs were all written without a vocalist and the band seems to have found a new found vigour when it came to the songs on Open Fire. The songs are all stripped down dirty southern fried rock n roll with a plethora of influences from punk and vintage 80s metal. I have a strong feeling that mainman and guitarist Erik Larson has a deep and abiding love for the work of Tipton and Downing but thats only a small part of the influences that make up this band.
Released earlier this year, Open Fire is the band’s 6th album. The album starts with the rocking The Cleansing. Sounding like a mix of 80s metal and 70s hard rock, this song starts proceedings in terrific fashion. The very next song, Void Of Harmony has a terrific vocal line in the chorus and the song is very catchy. There’s also a mellow laid back part in the middle of the song that allows bass player Mike Bryant to come up with a very cool bass line. The Beggar is another very cool mid-tempo rocker where Kyle Thomas really belts out his vocals. Very nice. Song of the album and the highlight is the mid-tempo dirty rocker Whiskey War.
None Shall Return is probably the most metal song on this album with a heavy groove and an opening riff that most 80s metal bands would kill for. A Dreamer’s Fortune is another very catchy song with a great chorus. Title song Open Fire plays like a hardcore band gone southern rock and is fucking heavy and also a touch dangerous sounding.
The band derives its inspiration from a who’s who list of 70s greats. You can hear bits of Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin and some Molly Hatchet in the sound while the metal bits sound vaguely inspired by Judas Priest. The twin guitar playing of Erik Larson and Ryan Lake is terrific right through the album. The duo come up with heavy catchy grooves like it’s the easiest thing in the world and their lead playing fits into the songs perfectly. Still, the star of this album for me is Kyle Thomas. I think his vocals show a tremendous growth since Floodgate and his singing is what has pushed these songs to a new level. Founding member and drummer Bryan Cox and bass player Mike Bryant make for a rock solid rhythm section and are tight and on the money right through this album.
The band has never sounded this fired up. Honestly, the title for this album is very apt. With Open Fire, Alabama Thunderpussy have served notice that they are not just a stoner rock band that a bunch of pot smoking degenerates love but that they could be a powerful and vital force in rock music.
Slot this right next to the new Orange Goblin. Superb stuff.