The album starts off with the track “Quicker than Liquor,” which is a largely Country inspired track than anything else. The cleaner guitars really do set up the atmosphere of a western-sounding effort with clean singing that feels a little more restrained. There’s some Industrial effects in the background that seem to go with the drums, and at first it doesn’t sound like it’s going to work given how the vocals are handled. That rough start does eventually pick up and have a bit of an upbeat sound, though the music seems a little more depressing emotionally despite it, especially given the lyrics of the track. It’s not bad, and really shows the Buck Owens influence well.
“What’s Wrong with Me” takes things in a slightly different direction though. Instead of the clean singing and cleaner sound, that similar Industrial element against the drumming and Country crisp guitars find some distorted vocals with a rhaspy approach that shows the obvious Ministry sound Al brings into the group. It’s not a bad track, but when you come off the eventually catchy “Quicker than Liquor,” the edgier vocal sound and distortion ends up sounding out of place. This basically carries over to “Medication Nation,” though the rhaspier, more enthusiastic vocals are toned down a bit more. But, basically the song is the same thing as the previous track it seems. I honestly sat here and for a little while thought I accidentally hit the previous track button on the laptop. While the similarities annoyed me, this song just sounds a lot better to me with a chorus that felt closer to a Country sound, and the vocals are better suiting as well.
“Drug Store Truck” honestly just hit the spot. The song’s funnier lyrics caught me a bit off guard, but it was something I was expecting of this album right from the start. The upbeat attitude is there as well, but not met with a more dismal or sombering approach, lyrical content, or alternate background like the previous songs had. This track was just meant for fun, and while the vocals don’t quite fit the bill, the band really capitalizes on it. “The Only Time I’m Sober is when You’re Gone” also brought a smile to my face. The music is just upbeat and catchy, and early Country music works so well for the topic of the lyrics, feeling like a true modern day classic of vintage Country with acoustic guitars mixed with a little electric to give it a slight Blues push, and less Industrial elements in the background. With these two spectacular songs down, the listener is met with “Cheap Wine, Cheap Ramen,” a shot at record labels and Al talking about selling his soul to the reccord company and only getting those two things. It’s not that funny considering some of the problems that you find out there with labels these days, but the way the song is handled just feels light hearted and brings a smile to your face anyway. The vocals do go into the rhaspier territory again here, but only at certain energetic points, and because of that they sound ok, but still not that fitting to the album.
As a Ministery fan, I couldn’t help but find a little influence of that group in this project, which isn’t too shocking since it’s Al’s side project. I’ve also never been too big a fan of Country music, but I could always get behind the earlier sound, which is what Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters goes for, and the pull it off quite well. My time with the album certainly has left a positive impression with me, though I can’t say every song on here is fantastic. It has a wide range to it, and sometimes that seems to stem largely from the vocal performance. But, overall, I’m anxious to hear the rest in more then just a personal manner. This may not be the first album to tackle country with a Metal or Industrial twist, but it’s definitely one that has peaked my interest.
Article based on digital review material provided by AFM Records.