The Glasspack

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Powderkeg Review

by Eduardo Rivadavia

As the Glasspack's second LP, 2002's Powderkeg, checks in, the band is already heard in full flight, crushing through a cacophony of instrumentation that would suggest the ending rave-up for their earlier Road Warriors EP. Once they crash to a stop a few seconds in, the rhythm guitar of singer Dirty Dave Johnson is the first thing that hits you, as it lays down a resounding, rumbling foundation over which lead guitarist Lil' Bucky and the rest of the Glasspack crew can do their thang -- that being a high-octane blend of stoner rock grinds and retro-rock grooves piled high with glorious distortion. Johnson's vocals -- hoarse and strangulated -- are another matter, but what the Glasspack lack in melodic finesse they more than make up for in terms of exuberantly raw instrumental excitement. The first truly choice example of their abilities arrives three songs in, when the sardonic "Mrs. Satan" introduces both the band's healthy sense of humor and a secret weapon in celestially appointed organist Reverend (allegedly). Very quickly you learn that semicivilized moments like "Mopar Fire Paint," with its extended jamming, just don't play to the Glasspack's strengths, and that, rather, it's on positively storming, out-of-control rockers like "Shut Up & Ride," "Whiskey House," and "The Heebeegeebees" that they excel. And even as you lie there, trying to remember the license plates on the monster truck that hit you, the aptly named "Demolition Derby" locks into an unstoppable doom metal riff and proceeds to ride it for all its worth, glass and metal sound effects clashing and ripping until the last car dies a death five minutes later. All that's left to do now is for self-explanatory instrumental "Jim Beam and Good Green" to waft and wane the listener to a pleasant buzz conclusion. Exploding with a loose, brute swagger, Powderkeg sure does its title proud.

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