The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Ugly-Kid-Joe-Uglier-Than-They-Used-Ta-Be-2015

UGLY KID JOE - UGLIER THAN THEY USED TA BE - ALBUM REVIEW

METALVILLE/UKJ RECORDS | Release Date: September 18 2015

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‘Hell Ain’t Hard to Find’ starts out like vintage UKJ – great hard rock, great melody with a nice Metal edge that seems to dump us back where it all began with that first EP whose title is also echoed and recycled on the latest release ‘Uglier Than They Used to be’.


19 years after their last full length release, with only the 2012 EP ‘Stairway to Hell’ between then and now it’s surprising and exceedingly welcome to see the band in such good form. ‘Let the Record Play’ for example is laid back and menacing, even slightly hypnotic, with a similarly hook-laden chorus to the opener; whilst third-up ‘Bad Seed’ adds a satisfying more Sabbath meets Soundgarden-like Metal.
It’s four tracks in that we hear the click of the drum-sticks and the acoustic guitars come out. ‘Mirror the Man’ is a nice laid back grove that mellows the record right out and a nice break of pace, bit it’s an oddly ambivalent tune, neither wanting to really push the ‘hits’ angle or push out an  immediate obvious melody. It’s one of those songs you find yourself liking by sheath.


Far more immediate is ‘She’s Already Gone’ one of our highlights, sheer soaring hard rock steeped in melody, it’s huge and cut nicely by the Metal riff and a solo that fits like a glove. We’re back to the gentle acoustics again for the moody ‘Nothing Ever Changes’ a song that is just a little to measured to break the slightly morose feeling of introspection it instils.  


Contrastingly ‘My Old Man’ the first tune to feature ex-Motorhead man Phil Campbell straddles that territory of the opener, adding as you might expect a languid stabbing solo, again its oddly hypnotic, something that Crane does so well. ‘Under the Bottom’ that follows initially injects a similar vibe, slow, sinister, but adorned at just the right time with crunching guitars before it opens up, speeds up and takes off, transforming into a chugging Sabbath-via-Clutch Metal anthem.


It’s a great pairing before the huge rendition of Motorhead’s calling card ‘Ace of Spades’ that follows. As covers go UKJ has always managed to get it right and this stripped back rendition manages to get to the core of the song with undue tampering.


Even though that’s probably the track I would have chosen to close with we ain’t done yet: ‘Enemy’ the best slow number on the record has a lot going for it as a ballad and is more immediate than the other acoustic fare, and up there with our favourites here especially when it pulls that old trick of receding to silence before kicking off again pumped up to ten with everything plugged in! The closing track a cover of the legendary ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ which features Dallas Frasca, is that perfect marriage of Funk and Metal with plenty of menace, its sears and sizzles on the back of huge guitars and sweet vocals: like all the best covers it adds to the original whilst doing its own thing and it's a very cool addition to the album. Hell - put it out and it'd rule the charts!


Some returns are better than others and this one is surprisingly good…

 

 

 

by Mark Rockpit

 

 


 

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