Reviews for Nail...
When I put the new disc from THROTTLEROD in my player, and the aggressive opener 'Prizefighter' does crash out of the speakers, I had to look for a second time on the cover just to make sure that this is really THROTTLEROD. Instead of heavy blues-laden rock the band integrated more Helmet-like riffs, which have been mixed with a small dose of punk rock. The next track 'Stand 'em up' is played in the same veÝn, and the band's energy level is impressive. The band has proven all this already on their debut 'Eastbound And Down' and 'Hell And High Water', but this time they're less bluesy. They've integrated a lot of unexpected breaks within some of their songs, without becoming one of this boring so-called math-rock groups. It's still heavy rock and despite all changes they know to surprise the listener with catchy refrains as for example in the title-song 'Nail' or the furious 'Teething'. Some of the here included tracks do remind me to the band's older material. 'Horse Paw' is definitely influenced by Soundgarden, while 'A Fly on the Fault Line' is one of the heaviest cuts of 'Nail'. The raw vocals of guitarist Matt Whitehead are in best shape and the dry-sounding production fits perfectly to the fresh renewed sound of THROTTLEROD. 'Nail' is a damn exciting and intensive album, that offers a lot of surprises even if you listen to over and over again. Excellent stuff!
-KKMarch 1st, 2008www.cosmiclava.com
Southern rockers' new album reveals a lean mean, stripped to the bone metal machine.
"Nail's" crisp, metronomic drum patterns, thuggish bass and barely-controlled guitar chaos cements the urban, pulverizing, angular locomotion of Cop Shoot Cop with Unsane's sneering, knuckleduster, hate metal. The greasy, southern biker boogaloo of their previous album has been viciously excised to the bone, revealing a lean, mean, red-raw, metal machine.
Throttlerod - Nail Throttlerod's sinuous, punkoid regeneration is a profoundly successful one as Matt Whitehead's furiously abrasive power chords broil at the molten core of their smartest collection of bruising Riff n' Roll thus far. I REALLY dug on this snotty clutch of alpha male, thunder god, riff rock, and there's a queasy, melvinoid lurch to the delivery that is especially effective. Happily the one equation that remains unmolested is the band's protean ability to generate explosive, 4 to-the-floor rock ditties with gloriously beefy, unctuous hooks, and snarling melodies that eddy joyously in the mind's eye long after the album has ceased playing.
Album highlights include the Albini bluster of 'Prizefighter' and the bathometric thrum of 'A Fly On The Fault Line' is a stoner rock gem stone. The strident mix by Andrew Schneider is exemplary, successfully honing gargantuan, thrusting hunks of unfussy rock aggro, into memorable tunage, and pumping Chris Sunstrom's girthsome bass to the fore was a canny stroke. Kudos for the sublime, Dadaist album art, all in all Nail is the complete package and a luminous example of how brutish, rivet-tight riff rock can be a most beautiful thing to behold.
Nails is Throttlerods 4th release since their birth in 1999. I only heard one of their releases last weekend at my friend Nils and I can say that this record is quite a lot different and much more raw and in your face and angry. The bass mix is really upfront and down and dirty. I am guessing the lost of long time founding member BO Leslie has lead the band to go for a heavier more noisy direction to compensate for the his loss and to move forwardÓ Anyway, this album hammers at you pretty hard and aggressive and has some real punk attitude mixed with a really raw sound and noisy guitars like the Unsane or something but more rock and roll. Sometimes I am reminded of the old Soundgarden stuff (the good raw heavy shit, not their pop crap!). I also hear some Helmet but with a more raw sound. Powerful stuffÓ Grab it with both hands!!!!!
If you dig: Helmet, Ministry, old Soundgarden
ScottJune, 2006 (issue # 35)www.lowcut.dk
Whatever you may choose to say about Throttlerod, you can't accuse them of complacency. Moving from classic rock (Hell and High Water) to the dark and drearily downbeat (Starve the Dead) to the angular, hardcore-tinged punk fury of Nail over the course of three releases, Throttlerod is a band that, as is said of sharks, must either move forward or die.
The loss of a guitar player pared the band down to a trio, and rather than attempt to fill the void created by this loss, they apparently decided to celebrate it. Never has Throttlerod sounded so raw and angular, the awkward gaps in some of the songs left to fester and, eventually, harden as the rest of the band grew more muscular and feral than ever. Nail, then, is the sound of Throttlerod tensing and never releasing, reminiscent of musclehead hardcore as run through classic metal and '70s rock. Lead singer Matt Whitehead, who can actually sing when he wants to, does a lot more yelling and screaming than on any previous Throttlerod release, which I suppose he can't help but do if he wants to be heard over the torrential frenzy of the music. There aren't as many catchy songs here as on Hell and High Water, but I guess that isn't the point. If you want those sorts of songs, H&HW is still in print and available for purchase. Nail's appeal is more emotional, and probably a bit more immediate than other Throttlerod releases: The kind of record with a sweat-streaked face and blood pounding in its ears.
Brian VarneyJune 11th, 2006www.lollipop.com
Throttlerod is more than just another "Stoner Rock" band. On their latest release they've evolved into something more. Yes, they still have a little Southern bluesy edge to the music, but the wall of sound they've created here equal that of giants like Candlemass and Sedated Beggars. If only Black Label Society sound near this good! Plus, Matt Whitehead's vocals are much easier to listen to than the goat-like Zakk Wylde.
There's so many different things going on "Nail" it's hard to "nail" down a specific style. It's heavy as hell with some of the chunkiest riffs you've ever heard. Kevin White has apparently channeled the late John Bonham and Chris Sundstrom's bass punches you right in the sternum. I have to also compliment Andrew Schneider for producing, mixing and recording this album perfectly. He really brought out the best of the band.
I can't say that any one song stands out over the others, as usual, the first cut of most albums jump at you instantly, as "Prizefighter" does in this case. But start it somewhere in the middle and you'll get the same effect. Bottom line, they're not writing for radio or the corporate world so they songs are consistantly solid. Having said that, being a radio guy, I would have liked to hear a few more catchy choruses, but the fact that you're blown away by the raw power of the album, a poppy hook probably would sound stupid anyway. "Teething" is probably the song that stuck with me the most, and it's freakin' track 9, so there's obviously no slowing down.
Despite the amazing roster that Small Stone Records has, Throttlerod has impressed me more than any band with it's ability to make strait up rock sound fresh and exciting. I would highly recommend seeing this band live if at all possible.
TorchApril 18th, 2006www.rockhardplace.com
Daredevil Magazine (Germany)
It's always cool to know a band from the very first Demo til present and Throttlerod is one of these bands I had an eye on over all these years, cause the music of Throttlerod was always full of original ideas, power and southern flair and you never knew what to await of the next release. "Nail" is one of these albums hitting the pulse of time just right... it's heavy, it's fresh and it easily goes into the ear. It reminds me a lot of the good old Soundgarden stuff... awesome riffing with a lot of catchy melodies and a huge sound... I think Throttlerod did everything right... this is Hard-Rock in the year 2006.
RBApril 17th, 2006www.daredevil.de
Since we last discussed Šem, perennial motor-stoner road dogs Throttlerod moved to Virginia from their native South Carolina, got themselves a new drummer, and largely abandoned the southern fired mudride they started out with. This new, twitchier version of the olĂ Rod is all about jagged punk/metal riffs and herky-jerk rhythms that bring to mind a less extreme version of Dixiecrust noise mongers like JumboĂs Killcrane and Beaten Back to Pure. When I was peeling the plastic offa this one this morning, I had no idea I was in for such a pummeling. There is some amazing guitar work on this Šun, though, especially the brain scrambling solo on ˘Horse Paw÷, but thereĂs a lot of shouting and pounding and cracking of skulls to get there. So, you know, brace yourself.
KMApril 7th, 2006www.sleazegrinder.com
Columbia Free Times
Throttlerod kicks my ass so hard that I swear my first (and yet-to-be conceived) child will come into this world with a shiner. This erstwhile Columbia trio rolled up its sleeves and cranked out another thunderous assortment of musical mayhem with their newest release for Small Stone, Nail. It's all assholes and elbows on these 10 tracks: the riffs are gargantuan, the vocals blistering and the rhythm section unmerciful. Give me something to break; I want somebody to shove. Songs like "Prizefighter," "A Fly on the Fault Line," "Teething" and "Indian Head" are musical napalm ¨ not recommended for those with weak constitutions or metrosexuals.
Kevin LangstonMarch 29th, 2006www.free-times.com
Right off the bat, Throttlerod again establish themselves as something more than just another stoner rock band. These guys are now a three-piece, (after the departure of founding member/guitarist Bo Leslie), and I actually can't think of anything to compare to their latest release. It's like hard-driving southern stoner rock with hints of 80's hardcore and punk, done in a unique way. It's a damn good album, their best yet I'd say, Throttlerod are back, and I'll be spinning this one for awhile.
WolfieApril 3rd, 2006absolutmetal.com
Slimmed down to a trio, South Carolina's Throttlerod comes smashing through the forest for another bruising tribute to all that's heavy and hard. Vein-popping shouter Matt Whitehead slams riffs out of his guitar like he's trying to bash in the heads of every person nearby; the rhythm section reigns him in enough to keep him from swinging wildly. There's a sense on Nail that the whole enterprise could degenerate into unformed chaos, but the band keeps it together with barely controlled rage. This is as barrel-chested as it gets.
Michael TolandMarch 31st, 2006highbias.com
'Nail' is Throttlerod's strongest release to date, and it will leave you scratching your head if you thought you knew them. They've always been distinguishable among the many so-called "southern" bands, chiefly because of their extraordinary whipcrack-tight rhythm section overlaid with southern metal chord progressions. Just listen to their cover of 'Old Black Betty' off the vitally necessary 'Sucking the 70s.' comp. Or see them live, as I did a few years ago. Whew!
Now stripped to a power trio, the group's pounding, driving rhythm section is still in place today, but any similarities to past efforts stop there. The occasional "Southernisms" may still manifest itself, but the music has largely left that behind in favor of a lean, raw, jagged, angry metal sound that puts them more in a northeastern cultural orbit than any that might be imagined around, say, Muscle Shoals. No surprise, since the album's producer, Andrew Schneider (who also appears on the album) has produced such New England underground monsters as Milligram and Roadsaw. You'll hear far more of them on 'Nailed' than you will Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers. At times they even step out of the stoner/doom genre completely, sounding more like King Crimson, Shellac, or 80s hardcore. Lotsa rhythm, lotsa riffs, and less obvious melody than previous releases.
This ain't your big brother's Throttlerod. They may seem to be all about brute power now, but who knows? This band refuses to make the same album twice, so where they'll go after this is anybody's guess. But if the past has taught us anything, it's that Throttlerod are likely to wrap it all up in a high quality package. It helps that they're on Small Stone, who've assisted many a group in honing their sound without sacrificing their balls. 'Nailed' is an abrasive, coherent beast that will leave you demanding more.
Kevin McHughMarch 23rd, 2006www.hellridemusic.com
In the music business, accepting change proves notoriously difficult in most instances. Fans resist, bands splinter apart, vision is lost and a whole heap of wreckage ensues. Throttlerod, a Richmond-based, southern-tinged, rock trio has endured as much change as any band in the last couple of years, but with the release of their new album Nail, the group proves to be a survivor in the face of long odds.
In 2003, things seemed to be looking up for the band, which originated in South Carolina but moved to Richmond. They signed to Small Stone records and released Hell and High Water, performed at South by Southwest and seemed to be on their way. Since that year, however, the band's course has been less sure. An EP released to mixed reviews and the departure of founding member and guitarist Bo Leslie signaled trouble, but relentless touring and a new record prove that Throttlerod will not be denied or deterred.
The initial buzz surrounding Nail suggested that the band had returned to the harder, punkier, sound that defined more clearly the roots of the band's influences and its early sound. The buzz proves to be largely true in this case. Nail is a much harder record than either 2003's Hell and High Water or 2000's Eastbound and Down. Throttlerod tosses aside the laid back, country-flecked, and ballad-fueled style of last year's Starve the Dead EP and legitimately rocks with more punch than they've ever had. The almighty riff remains the torso of Throttlerod's muscular sound and lead singer and guitarist Matt Whitehead steps up to fill the void of the departed Leslie. The overall guitar tone is different and not quite as thick, but the music doesn't lose much in the way of raw power. In fact, the producer Andrew Schweider overdrives the sound so much that the wounds-flayed-open quality of the guitar compensates for any drop off in the depth of the instrument through the mix. A raw metallic edge permeates the record that just oozes treble and leaves the speakers ringing with cymbal and echo.
From the bass-and-drums intro of opening track, "Prizefighter", Throttlerod serves notice that they're done with the groove-heavy hard southern rock in which they dabbled in the past. Whitehead's vocals spew out of the speakers urgent and distorted, and the lyrics flow in a sort of semi-illogical rant of a punch-drunk boxer. An early-Helmet like devastation washes over the entire song towards the end and has that late-eighties hardcore feel to it with modern sensibilities, that is, to amp the volume and fill all of the empty space with sound. Songs like "Stand 'Em Up" and "Teething" smack of a band taking the criticism of their last album to heart and moving in a decidedly different direction. Elements of their earlier releases are still present in the big choruses and layered backing vocals, and this is particularly evident on "Stand 'Em Up" but the added aggression keeps the record in overdrive. This is a band who knows that they're probably not getting radio play and who doesn't care.
Tight at ten songs, Throttlerod has pared away any filler from Nail. They've saved every bit of raw energy for the songs that really matter. Just give a listen to the brutal, "Shovel". From the out and out rockers like the title track to the almost Doom-tempo "Horse Paw", Throttlerod manages to mix things up adequately while maintaining a cohesive feel to the record that's never forced. A mix of songwriting and production, this cohesion makes listening to Nail an experience that feels too brief. This record is all the heaviness and explosion of modern rock without the whining self-righteousness you'll hear from most bands actually getting radio airtime.
Throttlerod, with Nail, manages to make an album that should please their fans, and at the same time, takes a noticeable step in a new direction. Some bands are content to continue cranking out the same album over and over again, just to keep the fan base they have. Throttlerod should be commended for keeping the fans they have while still trying to give them something new. All evolution represents change, but not all change is evolution. Sometimes finding true evolution baffles even the most resolute-Throttlerod find it, though. In fact, they hit the nail right on the head.
Travis BeckerMarch 8th, 2006www.rocknworld.com
Hell and High Water, ThrottlerodĂs last release, was a Great American Rock Album, chock full of those foot tappinĂ, head bobbinĂ riffs that made you wistfully check the classifieds for muscle cars. Nail, the bandĂs latest, is anything but.
Nail is an angrier album, for starters. Even the song titles ű ˘Nail,÷ ˘A Fly on the Fault Line,÷ ˘Shovel,÷ ˘Teething÷ ű seem more ornery and abrasive. The riffs match the attitude. Stripped down to a three-piece following the departure of guitarist Bo Leslie, singer/guitarist Matt WhiteheadĂs playing is now more angular and less reliant on classic southern rock chord progressions. Rather than fill the songs with excess guitar, Whitehead darts around the formidable and beefed up rhythm section of bassist Chris Sundstrom and drummer Kevin White (especially on lead track ˘Prizefighter÷). The open spaces not only give Nail more depth but also create a more live feel to the album.
Vocally itĂs still unmistakably Throttlerod, although theyĂve incorporated some Melvins-like shout along vocals (˘Nail÷) and Whitehead positively howls at the end of ˘Stand Šem Up.÷ ItĂs not surprising, given the general vibe of Nail.
Obviously, there are going to be some who will lament the absence of ˘In the Flood÷/÷Marigold÷ type songs (˘Teething÷ comes close). Given the bandĂs prior willingness to experiment with its sound, the direction taken on Nail isnĂt really surprising. Most importantly, Throttlerod has written a great collection of songs.
John PegoraroFebruary 4th, 2006www.stonerrock.com