First of all let me warn you, this metal curiosity isn’t metal at all. It’s country. It’s not even country music played grindcore-style, no it’s real country. Well, actually, it’s like Tenacious D meets the Pogues. Covering famous country tunes, like ‘When the Man Comes Around’, ‘Mississippi’, ‘Keep on Rocking the Free World’ and of course the awfully sung cover of John Denver’s ‘Rocky Mountain High’.
Why does this album deserve a decent metal review? Because no one has this far had the balls to come out of Carcass and ask buddies here and there if they can throw a bass line or some backing vocals on this potpourri of improbability. There is a long list of people you’d never expect to play on the same record, because the styles they are famous for are: A. not country and B. completely different styles of doom, death, folk, goth and grind metal. You have the north-western quarter of England playing here with folks from Liverpool (Anathema and Carcass…) and anything living in Helsinki that can either breathe out or move their fingers (Finntroll, Amorphis, HIM, To Seperate the Flesh From the Bones, and I’m surely forgetting some others). Other notable personae are Billy Gould (Faith no More) Nicke Andersson (Entombed and Hellacopters) Shane Embury (the in-famous Napalm Death bassist), Aaron Aedy and Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost.
Now after arousing your curiosity, let’s get into the music. Like I said, if you’re not able to listen to anything else than metal, move along. However, if you’re a fan (like me, hey I’m also American) of good wholesome country music and pioneering bands in today’s metal scene, this is for you. This record has in its line-up the ambassadors of a decade (or two for Carcass) of no-longer-to-be-presented reference metal bands. Not only is the disc actually great to drive on the highway to, it’s also nothing else but a curiosity and a precious one. If my sources are correct, this record was patiently put together like an Amish quilt, and mounted piece by piece by sir Walker yet the result is amazingly coherent. The production is beyond decent, the mix is well balanced, and the samples are clean, interesting and neatly put together with the music.
The Johnny Cash songs are groovy and get me singing and rocking my head and ‘You’re Still on my Mind’ is just-right honky-tonk and swinging. If I had to select the 4 seconds in the whole record that give me shivers, I’d surely select the totally out-of-place blast beats on ‘Mississippi’. ‘Sunday Morning’ is all Tenacious D sounding, and ‘Rocky Mountain High’ is the worst cover of that song I have ever heard. I love the original, but please Jeff, stop singing in head voice, or if you do, don’t sing it sitting down at half breath, because that’s what it sounds like… But the lovely backing vocals just…. I mean you’d have to listen to it. Jeff is good at grind, no question. But I think stretching clean notes needs more exercise. The timbre-full parts of the other Pogue-like vocals are fine in their style, but singing in head voice and shyly stretching with no chest voice… Is un-natural.
Now the artwork on the other hand, is really… As we say in French ‘mauvais gout’, pretty much translates to very bad taste… But I think it’s supposed to be funny. Ah yes, I turned over the jacket and there it is ‘Hey fuck’em if they can’t take a joke’… So I think that’s the general plan here.
Now the last thing I need to investigate is... Who are the Flüffers?
Well after seeing Lordi win the Eurovision, nothing can surprise me anymore…