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Barn Burner - "Bangers" (CD)

Barn Burner - "Bangers" CD cover image

"Bangers" track listing:

1. Holy Smokes (3:42)
2. Fast Women (3:21)
3. The Long Arm Of The Law (2:26)
4. Beer Today, Bong Tomorrow (5:03)
5. Runnin Reds (2:46)
6. Medium Rare (2:58)
7. Brohemoth (6:28)
8. Half Past Haggard (3:10)
9. Wizard Island (5:09)
10. Tremors (3:54)
11. Old Habits (1:43)

Reviewed by on February 22, 2010

"Riffs and licks straight from the devil - soaked in feedback, drenched in blues, and covered with hooch and groove."

If the riff were a religion, Barn Burner would be the high priests. Breaking through the burgeoning Montreal metal scene in a different way than their death and black Canadian brethren, Barn Burner place their entire life and livelihood at the hands of the riff. Mostly described as a stoner rock band, that moniker isn’t really accurate. These guys just play some good rock n’ roll and clearly have a great time doing it.

It is clear from the song titles that this quartet is serious about rocking. “Fast Women,” “Holy Smokes,” “Medium Rare” and the fantastically titled “Beer Today, Bong Tomorrow” are about exactly what it seems like they would be. And they pair this booze-and-women lyrical bent with riffs and licks straight from the devil - soaked in feedback, drenched in blues, and covered with hooch and groove.

“Holy Smokes” has the sing-a-long party chorus and melody that play real well in the convertible. “The Long Arm of the Law” slams straight-away with a squealing guitar lick that sets up the china-shop-that-got-destroyed-by-a-bull romp. “Runnin Reds” drives a punk-ish riff straight into our hearts, and “Half Past Haggard” carries a syncopated beat under a grooved riff that gives everyone bloody knuckles.

Only three of the eleven songs get past four minutes long, as Barn Burner saves its best Sabbath-doom for just a couple songs and keeps the rest tight and concise. This focus really keeps the album moving and rocking as none of the shorter songs get old before they end, and the three longer pieces stand out. “Brohemoth” combines sludge, feedback, and rolling riffs to beat the budding romance into submission. “Beer Today, Bong Tomorrow” features a slow groove – some might call it a slow burn - and a bridge of sorts that has guitarists Kevin Keegan and Marc Doucette happily chunking away, no matter how long it takes. “Wizard Island” is a slow, Sabbath-on-pot doom groove.

While the guitar riffs own the center stage, vocalist Keegan (he does double duty) drives the stoner vibe. His slightly melodic and mostly droning vocals give the stoner disciples their druthers, as Keegan sounds like he is strung out for the significant majority of the album. But it works, as we need Barn Burner to practice what they preach. But like any hangover, the end of the album does start to bang away and seems more like incessant noise than a party. But as the day-after headache fades as we look back on a wild and crazy time, we remember all of the good times and none of the bad, and we do it all over again.

Highs: “Holy Smokes” and “The Long Arm of the Law” are the most fun of the entire group.

Lows: The album is a couple songs too long, as the heavy riffing gets a little stale by the end.

Bottom line: The combination of AC/DC and Black Sabbath makes for good music and a great time.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)