Y' know, the more you go delving into the darker niches of rock music looking for that big hitter, like that album that got you into the stuff in the first place, the harder it gets to find, does it not? That one killer album just keeps getting more and more elusive.
Then a fleeting convergence of all that is great occurs and along comes something that makes your teeth zing, your spine tingle and puts a tear in your eye.
Well, 'Peacemaker' is the result of just such an event. The southern find of the year; that killer album y'all been looking for.
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For those who don't know, this lot have absolutely nothing to do with being hippies. Sounding nothing like a bunch of 60s psychedelia throwback wannabes, it would be more accurate to describe Texas Hippie Coalition as the bastard result of a pretty messy union between Black Label Society and Pantera but with the pinched harmonics mercifully docked at conception.
Referring to their sound as 'red dirt Metal', a reference to their Texan origins, Texas Hippie Coalition is not pretty and its subtlety is very, er, subtle. Beefy as fuck and retaining the usual southern traits of beer, fighting, mean hearted women and good ol' down home cooking, 'Peacemaker' is an absolutely fucking huge slice of country tinged, farm raised, beef 'n' corn fed southern Metal par excellence.
If you are partial to yer rock being southern fried and own a copy of Pride And Glory (a prerequisite for any pupil of the southern persuasion), then y'all be pretty much clued in to what 'Peacemaker' sounds like. You'll probably also pick up on the influences of Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet and of course the mighty 'Top tempered by the outlaw subtleties of Waylon, Nelson, Kristofferson and Cash.
I could go on but...
Mixed all together with a pinch of Monster Magnet what we have here is a Metal album that retains enough character to avoid the necessity of a major debate to ascertain its southern credentials. Pretty much stalking heavier territories, the beauty of 'Peacemaker' is that it is nowhere near country enough to frighten off the Metal heads but has enough of that southern attitude going on to keep most veterans happy as they salve their yearnings to once again raise the Southern Cross with a sip of Rebel Yell as they strip down that old Winchester.
Killer tracks? 'Wicked' is just simply a monster, 'Paw Paw Hill' has a Metalized ZZ groove, 'Outlaw' is Hatchet on raw meat and '8 Seconds' is about as Metalized as a blues boogie can get without turning into a muscle car. 'Turn it Up' has a riff Rammstein have been proud of and openers 'Hands Up' and 'Damn You To Hell' really shouldn't be let out of their cages without permits and an armed guard.
The entire album is fucking class A1 Metal but just in case there are a few out there that might feel a little alienated by the heavy groove, the band have thrown in the swampy old time Aerosmith sleaze of 'Sex & Drugs & Rock and Roll', the straight (relatively speaking) southern rocker 'Don't Come Lookin' and the solitary ballad 'Think Of Me'.
Keeping an eye on old traditions, 'Peacemaker' takes southern rock and drags it kicking and screaming out of its 'awe shucks' malaise that it tends to wallow in if left to its own devices and plonks it unceremoniously into the twenty first century without descending into angst ridden screamo or octave scaling dramatics.
'Peacemaker' is chest beating Southern metallic Americana done so well it makes (and may the Good Lord have mercy on my poor mortal soul for saying this) Skynyrd's latest album sound like an anaemic X Factor audition. Yes, this is that fucking good. A monstrous tub thumping pleasure and one of those rare albums that grabs you by the grits, throws you around and makes you believe that yes, the south just might rise again.
Oh fucking hell yeah!