Phoenix-rising trick from hard rock hedonists going down south in search of happiness.
Nine might be a lucky number for this trio who came into existence in 2006 in Massachusetts but, since their self-titled debut didn’t make much of a dent, relocated to bluesier Georgia in order to up the band’s chances for success. Atlanta’s air seems to have helped singing axeman David Dawson and a new rhythm section streamline their swagger without smoothing any roughness that informs the irreverent opener “Cigarette” and runs against the heavy cliches of today – that’s where ashes come into the black-and-white, no-compromise, play.
There’s no pale shadows, though, in the full-bloodied grooves of such catchy cuts as the emotionally tense, if transparent, “Sacrifice” or “Better Way” where Shane Bell’s bass and Will Rock drums rage across their dynamic range as if to illustrate the “leave any anger to me” line. Baring their sentimental edge, “Treason” breaks from the traditional balladry into a highly charged guitar solo, yet while the wail of “Wait On The Night” is quite welcoming, it’s a bit too raw to rock the gloom away, and the sharp angles of “Start To Bleed” could benefit from some production polish.
Fortunately, “Follow” offers a humorous respite into its rock ’n’ rolling, so fear no Satan’s minions this unholy trinity flees from before anger and ashes subside for the dry finale of “Stay” which somehow blunts the album’s appeal. More slam and bang, boys, and you’ll hit the big time!