It would be quite understandable for someone who knew nothing about Bangers to assume it was an album of Dirty South hip-hop. After all, "bangers" (or "club bangers") is a term that so many of the crunk and Dirty South rappers in Atlanta, Raleigh, Orlando, and other cities below the Mason-Dixon Line have used to describe their recordings. But the truth is that Bangers doesn't sound anything like Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, Ludacris, Mystikal, or Jugga the Bully. In fact, Barn Burner aren't hip-hop at all. This Montreal, Canada-based crew favors straight-up stoner rock, and the direct or indirect influences on the very sludgy Bangers include Fu Manchu, Sheavy, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana, and, of course, Black Sabbath. In stoner rock (and the closely related style known as doom metal), Sabbath's influence has been impossible to miss -- and so many sludge bands (from Eyehategod to Electric Wizard to Goatsnake to Suplecs) wouldn't sound the way they do were it not for classic Sabbath albums like Paranoid and Masters of Reality. Barn Burner are no exception; every riff on Bangers worships at the church of Black Sabbath to some degree. But instead of simply emulating Ozzy Osbourne-era Sabbath and sounding like a '70s nostalgia band, Barn Burner -- like so many other stoner rock outfits -- combine that Sabbath worship with an appreciation of grunge and alternative rock. The result is a sound that is comfortable in a post-Nevermind world and acknowledges the '90s and 2000s along with the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Bangers isn't the least bit groundbreaking, and none of the tunes is exceptional. But even so, Bangers is a generally decent, if predictable, listen. Die-hard stoner rock and sludge enthusiasts will find that Barn Burner are worth keeping an eye on.
by Alex Henderson