January 17th, 2012
Release length: 50:30
Well as you might expect, Bikers Welcome! Ladies Drink Free has a pretty clear audio quality to it. This is not so much due to the persons involved in this album, but an expectation given today’s Country music sound. While it’s clear Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters is really trying to capture that rough and rugged sound of early Country and music influenced by it that acts like Johnny Cash, as well as the noted inspiration for this group, Buck Owens, who (according to the press release) had blessed Al Jourgensen and this side project before his passing. Clearly a well executed homage to the man and his music, it sounds like nothing was pulled when it came to the production of the release, and every aspect of the music is captured perfectly in this crisper quality. The Industrial aspects of the music sound pretty crisp in the hi-quality sound, and it’s clear that this really makes up a large amount of the album. There are some guitar aspects to it that you can’t really help but wonder if they are actual guitar chords being played or riffs that are being executed in a technological manner. But even with the music not quite sounding as human as one might want for a Country element, the atmosphere and general sound of the style captured perfectly, varying in a filthier sound, a dismal atmosphere, and/or just an upbeat approach that has some faster music and just a catchier beat.
There’s a great number of songs on here that really stick out and leave a strong impact on the listener from the very first time you hear them, and this includes the very first track “Quicker Than Liquor.” The song has a bit of a faster beat with much of the music coming through as Industrial with some solid guitar work incorporated, as well as a fantastic, well suited solo that captures the energy of the song well. The dirtier tone of the song and lyrical content about alcohol and drugs just makes you want to sing along while enjoying the somewhat psychedelic trip the band sends you on. “What’s Wrong With Me” asks a pertinent question as the vice-fueled influences really pick up more through the additional Industrial sounds of instruments common to the music’s style and the guitars, but unlike “Quicker Than Liquor” and it’s cleaner vocal approach, here there is a bit of distortion that works well with the trippier sound of the music, setting up a desolate and somewhat twisted atmosphere that can make you feel like you are already plastered listening to this track even if you haven’t touched a drop of whiskey yet. There’s a good deal of songs to follow that also share this kind of sound, but there are some more somber material without a faster, dirtier sound such as the closing “Take Me Away.” The song’s slower pace really feels more emotional in comparison to the band just having fun, and really makes for a suitable closing to the album.
But the rather depressing, and/or filthier tracks aren’t really all that this album has to offer. Yes, it’s hard to escape that dirtiness that the band brings into their material in general, but you do get some breaks from the psychedelic compositions and alcohol-fueled realizations and ramblings that occur, such as during the start. “Drug Store Truck” is a perfect example thanks to it’s lighter atmosphere and faster pace that just feels like “Quicker Than Liquor,” but a lot more upbeat. And then you got the really vintage Country elements that find a lot less of a clear Industrial presence such as the really fun alcohol-based songs like “The Only Time I’m Sober is When You’re Gone” that carries a bit of a Blues vibe to it as well. “Down the Drain” has a similar foundation, but it just feels a little simpler, at least lyrically, as well as includes clean singing and the distorted aggressive vocal approach, both working well with the upbeat sound of the track.
One of the big perks to the album that really captures the true Country spirit is the random introduction of whoever will be doing a specific bridge or guitar solo. Hearing things such as “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Insert name here,” or “Go get ’em, Joe bird!” really set up the perfect tone you might expect from a live recording that shows the concept of a group of musicians just in the studio recording the music and generally having fun with it. You don’t really even need those little bits to realize it’s all for fun no matter how serious it gets. Of course, these little introductions can get a bit boring by the end, coming off a bit abused after a while, and appearing at times when it’s absolutely unneccessary, such as during “Take Me Away” where it actually feels a little insulting to the music.
The lyrical content often is performed in a stricter sense, but you can’t help to laugh at some of the concepts, such as during practically all of “The Only Time I’m Sober is When You’re Gone,” and some of the frustration you’ll find in the lyrics to “Cheap Wine, Cheap Ramen” in such a docile tone. It’s basically just the kind of things you want to say but, in today’s society, you just can’t. “Ten Long Years in Texas” is another one that clearly is just meant to be fun, though you still feel the frustration in the vocals. But when lyrics about a camp site being raided by bears comes up, one can’t help but laugh at imagines of Yogi and Boo-Boo from Jellystone National Park amid the more Blues oriented music and energetic vocals with a bit of a rasp edge to them. The same goes for “I Hate Every Bone in Your Body Except Mine,” except there’s some deeper clean singing in the chorus instead.
Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters bring an impressive, and really unique sound to Industrial and even straight forward Country fans with this debut offering. Bikers Welcome! Ladies Drink Free really captures that rough Country vibe that has been lost in today’s more mainstream sound of the style that really distances itself from the emotion fueled and often just fun vibe of early Country music, and finding that blended with a slight tinge of aggression similar to the Ministry roots of Al Jourgensen is just something that both styles really need to break much of the stagnant stereotypes and staples of both sounds today. If you just want to put in an album to get wasted to, or even just relax or have a good time to with friends, Bikers Welcome! Ladies Drink Free is a fantastic choice. There’s enough material to accompany all of those situations and more, and it’s not one you’ll soon forget or take out of your player. With a high replay value, this album is definitely one to pick up.
01. Quicker Than Liquor – 3:10
02. What’s Wrong with Me – 4:20
03. Medication Nation – 4:34
04. Drug Store Truck – 4:31
05. The Only Time I’m Sober is when You’re Gone – 3:22
06. Cheap Wine, Cheap Ramen – 4:12
07. Down the Drain – 4:36
08. Sleepless Nights and Bar Room Fights – 2:54
09. Friend of the Devil – 4:25
10. Ten Long Years in Texas – 4:31
11. I Hate Every Bone in Your Body Except Mine – 5:18
12. Take Me Away – 4:37
|Overall Score: 9.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by AFM Records via Earsplit PR.