Reviews for Hell and High Water...
Get ready to get your balls kicked, audio-wise. Some brawlin' heavy guitar work, some chunky-attitude vocals and some whiskey soaked motherfuckin' rock and roll. Small Stone, the little label that knows how to rock, strikes again. Throttlerod's "Hell and High Water" is a butt-kickin' dose of Southern rock and fuckin roll with thick guitar riffage, badass vocal attacks and about a whole case of industrial size cans of whoopass. It's groovy to hear a jammin' band in today's scene that eschews much of the generic modern rock ethic, preferring instead to just lay out some good old beer guzzlin' stoner rock tunage. Sweet ....
Kristopher UpjohnNovember, 2004fishcomcollective.net
Dirty, ugly, smelly Southern metal from South Carolina. Not sure what's up these boys' bumholes¨angry bobcats, from the sound of it¨but it makes them revel in the monster truck-heavy stomp of "In the Flood," "Snake into Angel" and "No Damn Fool" like they're as happy being pummeled as pummeling. Which isn't to say they don't have sensitive souls as well¨the acoustic "Been Wrong" is downright purty, with no apologies. Skip the out-of-place opener "Marigold," which might give you the false impression that Throttlerod is another Korn/Slipknot wannabe.
Michael TolandJanuary 18th, 2004highbias.com
THE SOUND MONITOR
The long anticipated follow up to 2000's Eastbound and Down has definitely been worth waiting for. From the first riff of "Marigold' you know this album is going to rock. Throttlerod haven't lost any of their punch with their southern styled upfront rock.
The first album was an absolute cracker, but after Hell and High Water I realise that Throttlerod had much more potential than what I'd expected. The production on this album gives a much fuller guitar sound than Eastbound and Down, while the music seems to have matured and become more diverse without foregoing the kick ass rock n' roll.
'Marigold', 'Whistlin' Dixie' and 'On the Mountain' have some mammoth riffs that would make Fred Durst spontaneously combust at 300 feet. A nice change in the middle of the album is the acoustic 'Been Wrong', which starts lulling you far away, before 'In the Flood' brings you rocking back. There's some good variety in the guitar and bass that really add to the range with the last track 'Honest Joe' cruising along at an epic eight and a half minutes, injected with Throttlerods own secret herbs and spices. You just have to love how well this band fits together. The music is so tight.
Every aspect seems to suit each other so well from guitar to drums to vocals to bass: it's a perfect mix.
This CD has shot straight into my top 5 releases for the year. Do yourself a similar favourÓ.
Nathan PeauriNovember, 2003thesoundmonitor.com
Fucking rights! Say hello to the new kings of heavy southern rock folks, Throttlerod is here and damn me if this ain't the best damn rock album out of the US of A this year! A mere four years together, Throttlerod have been scary fast in their evolution, wasting no time in firing out a debut album in 2000 and touring incessantly. Now, in 2003 theyĂve unleashed their sophomore tour de force, Matt Whitehead and co. laying down a true monster of an album.
From the opening crush of "Marigold" to the final strums of the epic "Honest Joe", Throttlerod will have your ears glued to your speakers, shaking the living hell out of you, forcing you to rock along with them. Honestly, the band has mastered all of the tricks of the trade, switching effortlessly between toe-tapping pounders (see the godly "Whistlin' Dixie"), to fast boogie ("Tomorrow and a Loaded Gun"), to gentle balladeering ("Been Wrong"), and damn vintage speed rock ("Snake into Angel"), and of course the aforementioned 8+ minute epic "Honest Joe". It's all here, and it's all top shelf. I swear, the album is 56:35 long but it flies by and feels much shorter.
Hard as I try, I can't find a single bad thing to say about this album. In fact, I'm going to just stop here, 'cause I'm over awed. Suffice it to say that Throttlerod have laid down an instant classic, an album that the Southern greats will have no trouble inducting into their hallowed pantheon. Load it up!
The first time I met Throttlerod was one raucous night at the Linwood years ago, when they were at the bottom of some Southern death trip rock n' roll cluster fuck. One of the 'Rods (the cat that's in Isabelle's Gift now) saunters up to me and points at local barnyard burning heroes Quintaine Americana, who were howlin' and a fussin' on stage, and says, "These guys ain't bad. You know, for pussy music." I missed Throttlerod's set, but I bought a CD anyway, just for that smirky remark. Next time I ran into Throttlerod was at New Alliance studios- Quintaine Americana's studio, mind you- where they were producing this record with supersonic visionary Andrew Schneider. Which is just further proof that rock and roll is nothing more than one big Mobius strip of loud guitars and mouthy guitar players. I got an earful of some really great ex-wife stories that night, and an even bigger earful of Throttlerod's smooth sippinĂ, bullet biting, rev n' rollin' Dixie rawk. Even if they hadda journey all the way from South Carolina to the Northern territories to do it, it was obvious that these good 'ol boys had a monster of a record on their hands. Flash forward to right now ű September 19th, 2003, 10PM- and the fruit of their labor is blaring out of my speakers. And goddamn, it still sounds like a hand fulla face cards on a night of long knives. If you've been around awhile, then you know the basic blueprint for redneck riff n' roll ű AC/DC + Skynrd = mission accomplished. Well, Throttlerod are true believers in that holy scripture, only they trade in the jammy slackadelia for velocity and pinpoint accuracy, the shotgun aggression for soul, and the stoner dude 'tude for bonafide songwriting. With 7,000 miles of dark dusty road behind them since their days as lippy openers, and on the sheer lupine strength of "Hell and High Water", Throttlerod are officially, and without question, BIG TIME rock and roll, baby. With 2 songs to drunkenly serenade your lady with, and 10 more to seethe to once she finally storms out the door, "High Water" is all yer gonna need to keep that fire in your belly burning through the long, cold winter. Righteous.
It's been 3 long years since "Eastbound and Down', a record that cemented Throttlerod as one of the most vital, energizing bands in the heavy rock genre, although when I heard they acquired the services of a Grammy Award winning producer (Andrew Schneider), I figured it would be the kiss of death. Fear not. Now with Small Stone Recordings out of Detroit, the band continues their ass kicking tradition unabated as they plow through 12 cuts of slick ass southern tinged rock and roll.
"Sucker Punch" has Throttlerod on full time groove detail; the riffs are giant, fitting in with the rest of the production while the vocals ring in loud and clear, showcasing MattĂs much improved vocal range while "No Damn Fool" rocks you right out of your chair with its high-flying southern guitar twang. As much as this stuff rocks at the highest level, the songs are perfectly arranged and beautifully crafted; take the heartfelt lone acoustic/vocal style of "Been Wrong" which takes on an almost Skynyrd-esque vibe ű a new direction to say the least as I wouldn't have expected a ballady type from these guys, but one the band definitely has a strong concept of.
"In The Flood" gets back to the rock with a frenzied dual guitar attack, leaving your head spinning with their trademark high energy and fluid tempo changes. T-Rod has even strengthened this repertoire by beefing up the sound of their rhythm section. That's what I really dig about this recording: it sheds as much depth and warmth into the drum and bass, as it does the guitars and vocals. Even the songwriting has excelled to new heights; baiting, hooking and frying the listener in one fell swoop as they do on "Snake Into Angel" and "Mariana" by incorporating their never ending stash of powerful melodies and relentless hooks.
The 8+ minute melodic guitar groove of "Honest Joe" is the ideal way to finish off this disc, loaded with a dirgey guitar style and a passionate vocal performance that should surely gain the band some well deserved attention. Album of the year? You be the judge. I've already made my decision.
Deanna St.CroixOctober, 2003Stonerrockchick.com
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
It would be easy to lump Virginia by way of South Carolina transplants Throttlerod with the likes of southern stoned rockers Alabama Thunder Pussy or enigmatic groove masters Clutch. But with their second album, 2003's Hell and High Water, the band strikes upon a notably individualistic chord, honing their crunchy hard rock into a taught, unified wall-of-Les Paul. Let's just say that if guitar tone were everything, these boys would be headed for the Hall of Fame right now, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. More realistically, the fact is that with all the stoner rock nodding-off going on these days, Throttlerod's focused assault and admirable songwriting economy are clearly their greatest weapons. Sure enough, full-throttle album highlights such as "Suckerpunch," "In the Flood," and the especially memorable "Tomorrow and a Loaded Gun" are discharged like round after round from a two-barrel, allowing little room for taking cover in-between. Initially, the songs' shared high energy makes for an apparent sameness, but this quickly gives way to numerous distinctive moments, including the exceedingly groovy "No Damn Fool" and the soft/hard dynamics of "Whistlin' Dixie." When it's all said and done, the excessive jamming of 11-minute closer "Honest Joe" and the forgettable acoustic balladry of "Been Wrong" constitutes the only true lapses in concentration during this surprisingly cohesive set.
Ed RivadaviaOctober, 2003allmusic.com
DAREDEVIL MAGAZINE (Germany)
After rumors about splitting up and some major changes Throttlerod are back with a fantastic album. This time it sounds more European...a bit like the new Dozer stuff. The whole trip starts with a great opener called "Marigold" and goes over in the next big song "Sucker Punch". Compared to their previous album "Eastbound And Dow" this is a big step forward. This album has everything what it takes for a good Rock album. You?ve got straight Rockers, Ballads etc... just f**ing everything. As I said, everything went better and Matt is doing really really good with his vocals...his voice is a bit whiskeysoaked, but still clean...a bit like Alabama Thunderpussy's old shouter Jonny...great. This is Southern Heavy-Rock mixed with a little bit of European Stoner...a damn explosive cocktail brought to you by Throttlerod.
The old saying about how youĂve got your whole life to write your first record and six months to write your second is key here, except Hell and High Water, ThrottlerodĂs second album, is actually being released 3 years after the debut Eastbound and Down, but hey, things donĂt always run on schedule with indie labels.
In any case, this saying is usually mentioned in connection with the so-called "sophomore jinx," where bands often falter on record number two because of the afore-mentioned time restraints and other pressures. It can be said that, like many other things which I will not now mention, record #2 separates the men from the boys ű if you can come up with a killer for your second album, your band has a leg up on a lotta others.
As fine as Eastbound and Down was, you could definitely tell it was a collection of songs written at different times, not so much the product of a living, breathing band so much as a retrospective collection of songs from different periods, perhaps even from earlier bands. Three years and a buncha live dates later, Throttlerod are unquestionably a living organism, a band smacked into shape by hardcore, low-budget touring and all of its requisite finery ű sleeping on peopleĂs floors, eating in gas stations, pooping in the abject filth of club bathrooms, and trundling across the country in a verge-of-collapsing van. I wouldn't wish that sorta living on anyone, though I must say that its hand in smacking away the carrion and shaping the rock-hard brilliance of a band like Throttlerod makes me think it has its place for those willing to subject themselves to it.
As a result of all of this shit, Hell and High Water coheres a lot better than its predecessor, a fact which is also helped by the fact the record is impeccably produced, everything sounding huge and beautiful and crushing. Andrew Schneider, who produced this as well as all of the good Boston bands, deserves a Nobel Prize or some shit.
Of course, this wouldn't matter worth a shit if the songs weren't great, but they are. Opener "Marigold" sounds like a beefed-up hair metal tune and has already caused some grumblings about selling out and sounding too radio-ready, but I can think of nothing I'd love better than to hear this song cranking out of passing car radios. It's a great song and I find myself wishing I could hear it when the CD is not nearby. On this and most of the other tunes to be had within these plastic grooves, the big new development is the integration of the bandĂs obvious love of classic metal into the southern-fried hard rock sound (yeah, yeah, I know, alarm bells ring when those words are uttered, but they come to it honestly, you can tell) established on the debut, crunchy guitars and taut grooves wrung to maximum impact by skillfully-deployed dynamic tension.
But there are also a couple of genuine surprises in the form of slow songs. As many before me have said, any idiot can play fast ű it's the folks who can play slow and make it work that are the ones to watch. "Been Wrong" is just an acoustic guitar and voices and it evokes the eerily quiet serenity of the early Rod Stewart solo albums. It"s a step away from everything else this band has recorded, but it"s done very well and a nice indication that, beneath the volume and headbanging, these fellas have got soul. And I believe that the search for soul (or truth or beauty or something similarly intangible), whether or not we're aware of it, is the reason most of us listen to music. So come and get it.
Brian VarneyOctober, 2003
THE GLASS EYE
Holy shit! That's all I have to say about this amazing album! What's that? You want to know more? Fine. Before I popped this in the ol' player, I was expecting to be disappointed by the jinx that loud-assed live bands seem to be afflicted by when they hit the studio -- so many Southern-heavy bands lose so much sound in a recording studio. I was ass-fucking-backwards on this one! Right away (and I mean that literally), Throttlerod pulls out their rock-balls and shows 'em to ya with the guitar-heavy "Marigold." This seriously sounds like ten guitars being played at once! Next comes the appropriately titled "Sucker Punch" with more of the same. I think I actually had a black eye by the time the album was a quarter of the way through! Things slow down a bit at just the right time with "Been Wrong," only to be followed by the fast and pissed track, "In The Flood." And I nearly broke my neck rockin' to "Whistlin' Dixie." What a fucking riff! Then I ruptured a spleen upon first listen to "Snake Into Angel." In fact, the beat-down continued until the last track, "Honest Joe," which let me down easy, giving me time to let it all sink in. I must be a glutton for punishment, because I'm going to play this until it melts my CD player.
Jay HathawayOctober, 2003
A monumental southern rock shotgun blast of blues boogie guitar grooves and soulful growls and harmonic vocal beauty. Man, it is so good to hear one of your favorite bands writing great songs, sounding tighter than ever, and growing into a major league rock band to be reckoned with. Throttlerod is one of the most enegetic and accomplished live bands of all time, and this CD comes as close as recording technology can to capturing that determined live spirit and fierce rocking drive we've always loved. Matt Whitehead displays the soul of a poet and the pipes of a silver throated warbling road warrior, and his songwriting skills are more polished and precise than ever, downright profound in their power and personal insight. As always, he and Bo Leslie throw down southern fried blues based leads better than any dueling guitar duo alive, blasting and bouncing lead patterns and roaring chord choruses off each other like the musical/spiritual brothers they are. Blazing flowers of flame and feelings flash and flare from the fancy fretwork of these two gifted Gibsoneers from first track to last. Chris Sundstrom provides a ten ton heavy bass anchor to build on and Kevin White proves he is one of the finest stick men in the known universe. There is no better rhythm section, period. Hell and High Water is truly a watershed performance. This is Throttlerod's signature statement, proof positive that they are one of the finest southern metal bands recording today, full of mansized melodies and deep south riffs galore. Real rock by real men for real people. Pride, determination, hard work, finely honed talents, and a perceptive producer (Andrew Schneider) equals one outstanding CD. There ain't no flies on this one. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how heavy southern rock is supposed to sound, full of all the fertile complexities and contradictions inherent with being a true son of the south. The power of perfection and the perfection of power on one CD. Hell and High water is one of the most essential CDs of 2003.
Glenn TillmanSeptember, 2003
This album is a huge step forward for the band and could be an even bigger step for underground heavy rock. First of all, the band did a fine job in choosing a producer. Like he did with Milligram's This Is Class War, Andrew Schneider has turned in the production job of the year. The sound on this album is huge. Envision a combination of famed COC producer John Custer's loud and in the red with Matt Hyde's ringing, clean and crisp sound. Much like Throttlerod's much vaunted live show, the volume and openness is enough to make one dig the band.
The production goes hand-in-hand with the songwriting, which is much improved. Granted, the energy and know-how was there from the beginning. It was evident on both By the Horns and Eastbound and Down that the band had found its sound on day one. Nevertheless, let's be honest, the songs were a bit underdeveloped. That is certainly not the case here. I noticed the growth within the first minute of "Marigold," the album's opener. The true genius lies in the fact that the band has not toyed with it's sound. There's no way that any fans of the band will be lost, but rest assured, there will be loads of new ones.
Immediately, the listener will know that this is a hungry band, who is serious about their music. That's not to say the songs aren't fun. The whole album is fun. And believe me, it flows like an album. So much so that it feels like a journey. Each song has a different feel to it, despite the common thread of the Throttlerod soundűloud, heavy, straightforward rock with a southern tinge and excellent breakdowns. Even though it's an apt description, I know it's rather generic, which is why I implore you to just listen to them. Believe me, they've cornered the market.
There's something for everyone on this album. Plenty of riffs and solos. An acoustic ballad that fits right alongside the fast songs. Personal lyrics that are universal to anyone and everyone. Clearly, this album is for the everyman, the average Joe. Speaking of Joe, "Honest Joe," the album's closer is the centerpiece. Boasting a melodic midsection reminiscent of Metallica's "Orion" or Darkest Hour's "Veritas, Aequitas," it's a bit of a departure, but not surprisingly, does not feel out of place.
If Throttlerod doesn't crossover with this album, there is no hope for the mainstream.
Mat UrbancichSeptember, 2003