Hank Williams III

Attention Deficit Domination

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Folks who know Hank Williams III best for his early retro-honky tonk material may wonder what he's doing trying to make a doom metal album, but those who've been following his career closely know Hank3 is serious about his rock & roll: Williams played bass in Superjoint Ritual, drummed in Arson Anthem with Phil Anselmo and Mike Williams, and leads his own hardcore metal band, Assjack, which closes his shows in a hail of fury and noise after a set of hard-edged country. Hank3 has been fighting tooth and nail to release a rock album the way he wants to through much of his recording career, and while Attention Deficit Domination isn't his first metal album to finally see an authorized release (2009's Assjack took those honors), this is the deepest and darkest rock album Williams has unleashed to date. Hank played guitar, bass, drums, and keys on Attention Deficit Domination, as well as handling lead vocals and handling the engineering, mixing, and mastering. Clearly, this is Hank3 doing what he wants the way he wants to do it, so it's a shame that it isn't a stronger album than the often bootlegged, early Assjack material or the sessions that saw belated release on 2011's Hillbilly Joker. Hank is a strong enough player to sound convincing on all instruments, but these sessions lack the interplay that brings strength to a good band, and the performances sound more than a little stiff, which doesn't suit the deep, stoned vibe of these songs. Hank's reedy tenor voice is a fine match for country stuff, but the guttural howl of doom demands something with more resonance than he commands here, and the digital vibrato added to his vocals doesn't help. And while there are a handful of good songs here -- particularly "Get Str8" and "Make a Fall" -- most of this material follows the same sonic template throughout, and while there's no question Hank knows and loves this stuff, he has a better handle on the speedier, thrash-leaning sound of Assjack than the slow creepy crawl of Attention Deficit Domination. There's just enough that's worthwhile on this album to hope that Hank3 doesn't fully abandon this concept, but this is a far cry from what he does best, and even serious doom fans are likely to find this is pretty ordinary.

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