Alabama Thunderpussy - Fulton Hill

12 songs
67:34 minutes
***** ****
Relapse / Suburban


Since Man's Ruin had to stop all business activities, many of their bands have been taken over by Relapse Records. This was a move that may surprise, as the rocking sounds from those bands seem so out of place of the grind and extreme metal sounds we have come to love with Relapse. As only fools refuse to broaden their horizons, we should cherish the label's decision to release music by a band like Alabama Thunderpussy. Unlike their label mates Zeke who opt for concise brevity, ATP stick more faithfully to their Southern roots in the vein of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers and Molly Hatchet. Already the instrumental opener Such Is Life is an unexpectedly moody piece of music, starting with mellow sad guitars and only later building up to a screaming crescendo. The first vocal track, R.R.C.C., shows the aggressive face of ATP, being pure and wild, even simple rock'n'roll, in fact the style I would have expected. But already the next song, Wage Slave, adds a Southern flair to the rocking rhythms, before we get the first real surprise with the epic Three Stars, a hymn in the true sense of the word. And again ATP are swerving to something else, the long Bear Baiting starting like a regular groovy and brutal rock'n'roll song until the quintet stomps on the brakes and ends the song with a sludgy doom part. Other highlights are the melodic Alone Again and Do Not, the latter even something of a regular ballad. The more direct material (Blasphemy, Sociopath Shitlist) is hammering away in a very effective way, although the band is at their best when they handle more epic proportions, as is best seen in the album closer Struggling For Balance, nearly a quarter hour masterpiece of majestic Southern rock with the gritty dirtiness of ATP.

Although I am by no means a fan of traditional Southern rock, Fulton Hill works perfectly in my book. The album may be very long, but at no moment even hinting at boringness. Although I favour their more melodic material, there is a near perfect balance between the different styles that always work well together and never clash. Dedicated rock'n'roll fans should consider getting this masterpiece as soon as possible.

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