Album Review of Burnt Out Wreck: This Is Hell (Cherry Red Records)
This is crunchy, soaring, hard-driving ’80s style melodic rock ‘n roll of the very best kind. I reviewed Burnt Out Wreck’s previous album, Swallow, back in 2017. Now, I’m finally getting a chance to review the band’s 2019 release, This Is Hell. As I mentioned in the previous review, Burnt Out Wreck has an ’80s pedigree, with lead singer Gary Moat having served a the drummer in ’80s rock band Heavy Pettin, and with Burnt Out Wreck Gary’s every bit the energetic, raucous rocker now that he was “back in the day.”
This new disc starts out with high energy right from the start, as “Dead or Alive” romps from the get-go. I hear the AC/DC comparison I mentioned in my last review, but there’s a high-screaming, tuneful, frenetic energy that also recalls Kix’s Steve Whiteman. Much headbanging and air-drumming on this fun, rockin’ album-opener.
The album contains a fair bit of good ol’ rock ‘n roll-style raunchy good humor, with tracks like “Paddywack” turning clever phrases and featuring singalong-ready verses. And, of course, later on the disc, “Rock Hard Sticky Sweet,” which is driven by a gritty, bluesy rock guitar line with some Cinderella-like chord progressions (from their really good bluesy hard rock songs), as well as tasty soaring guitar solos during one particular mid-song bridge.
One of the more direct anti-love songs you’ll find on this disc is the catchy “Headfuck,” with vocal screams and crashing drums and vocals reminiscent of Headhunter-era Krokus.
Surprisingly, if know how much I dig lyrics, probably my favorite song on this disc is lyrically simple. “Guitars Electrified” is all about the energy, rhythm, and guitar hooks. It grabs your attention from the first note and pulls you in as the instruments join one by one and the power builds. It’s a song all about rockin’ – and it does rock – with vocals, at times, a bit of a blend of Steve Whiteman and Jack Russell, though really just 100% Gary Moat. Much like Autograph’s “Turn Up the Radio,” this is a good, old fashioned, energetic rock and roll party song.
Really, though, every song on the disc has a reason it might be your favorite. “Just a Dog,” for example, has a bluesy rock flavor, and for some reason it reminds me just a bit of ZZ Top’s “Dirty Dog,” though this Burnt Out Wreck tune is much slower-tempoed and grittier. Perhaps it’s because the tunes have a similar attitude… and the word “dog” in them.
And the final song on the album, “Snow Falls Down,” closes things out with all of the vocal, drum, and guitar elements that make This Is Hell so much fun.
Another top-shelf, fun, melodic hard rock disc from Burnt Out Wreck, This Is Hell is a great follow-up to Swallow. Though the style is familiar, the songs are fresh and new, and the enthusiasm and energy are genuine. This is a disc that harkens back to the days when rock ‘n roll was all about screaming vocals, guitar and drum runs, and fun, headbanging live shows. This may be greedy on my part, but I’m already hoping there’s an album number three in the works.
Burnt Out Wreck has several gigs booked next year through July of 2021. You can find the gig calendar on the “tour” page of the band’s website.