Forever confined to infamy as the authors of the one and only "Lumberjack" song, Jackyl nonetheless did have more to offer than that one chain saw-wielding song and its sightly video. In fact, their self-titled debut album has a good share of above-average early-'90s hair metal, making it one of the few albums of its era (and, yes, there were many) that stands out in retrospect. First off, Jackyl isn't your typical hair metal band by any measure. They're not from Los Angeles, aren't glammed up, and don't offer the obligatory power ballad; rather, they're Southern rockers by nature and, perhaps uncoincidentally, have more than a passing resemblance to Brian Johnson-era AC/DC. Even so, their singalong choruses are, for the most part, unmistakingly hair metal styled, as is the glossy sheen of their production, so the songs on Jackyl are easily accessible to all. Edgy music this is not. The opening run of songs -- "I Stand Alone," "Dirty Little Mind," "Down on Me," and "When Will It Rain" -- go down especially smoothly, pretty much as smoothly as anything offered by the likes of Warrant, the Bulletboys, Slaughter, Trixter, Love/Hate, ad infinitum. From here, the band tones down the singalong factor a bit and showcases its eccentric side: songs like "Redneck Punk," "She Loves My Cock," and of course, "The Lumberjack" definitely aren't your typical hair metal fare and are essentially what set Jackyl apart from their innumerable contemporaries. In the end, they haven't done anything too remarkable on their debut album. They've simply offered an above-average hair metal album with a couple highlights and a fun touch of novelty. Yet that in itself is somewhat remarkable. As a result, Jackyl is one of those few early-'90s hair metal albums you can return to with a sly grin rather than a disowning cringe. As for what came after afterward, that's a good question that few can answer, as Jackyl disappeared as suddenly as they surfaced, confined forever to "Lumberjack" infamy.
by Jason Birchmeier