On their first full-length effort, Crooked Hook build on the enjoyable promise of their debut EP, taking heavy riffage from the proto-metal late '60s/early '70s and having their own way with it. If the trio still hasn't fully emerged from being a very good reinterpreter of those past times -- as opposed to hotwiring them into something new and distinct -- they have the chops and sense of the sound needed to make the chunky, stuttering riffs of songs like "Captain" stand out, and compared to all-flash no-memory acts like Wolfmother, they actually sound like they might be in it for the long haul. Singer/guitarist Joey Maddalena has a fine ear for whipping up woozy, bloozy solos that sprawl angrily across the songs, often acting as a counterpoint to the straight-ahead chug of the rhythm section of Rick Omonte and Jason Bates instead of simply paralleling it. "Mystical Beauty" shows what can happen when all three lock into a groove, as they do on the faster instrumental break, followed by Maddalena letting fly with a solo somewhere between Leslie West's rampaging and evil acid drone. The more easygoing lope of "Deep End" and especially the slow crawl of "Raven" match the winter scenes nicely, but "Crimson Dub," the extended album closer that finds the group approaching the feeling of early Black Sabbath more strongly than ever before, is the real winner on that front, suggesting bloodstains after a murder in the snow and a victim left to die. Grim thoughts, but Crooked Hook knows how to make it entertaining.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett