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Alabama Thunderpussy

Open Fire

Review by Mike Korn

A picture of a raging barbarian on an album cover has been an indicator of quality on heavy metal and Southern rock albums for many years now and Open Fire proves no exception, boasting a Kelly Freas classic. In fact, this record is bursting with so much fire and grit that I defy any fan of hard music to keep from bouncing around the room and making wild air guitar gestures. This one lays the smack down real hard!

Alabama Thunderpussy (I still have reservations about that name) have been around a good long while now, but with Open Fire a new chapter begins. This is lean and mean, with no unnecessary B.S. or extended jams. It's 11 tracks chock full of killer riffs, scorching guitar solos and roaring, rowdy vocals from new guy Kyle Thomas. There's not a bad cut to be found here. It's like ATP have found the perfect way to distill their essence, trim the fat and put the resulting moonshine in a bottle called Open Fire.

Pure raging rawk from start to finish, this will surely place high on a lot of year-end polls!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
The Cleansing
I like the way this one builds gradually from a bass/drum intro to a stomping metal crunch. As powerful as the cut is, the blues are never far from reach. It's clear from the start that Kyle Thomas' vocals are the perfect fit for ATP's raucous sound. As good as this is, it's just a taster for the licking you're going to get.
Void of Harmony
This heavy number comes swaggering in like a drunk ready for a fight. The melodic chorus has a sing-song kind of feel to it and Thomas shows a lot of range on this cut. There's some mega-heavy power riffs that form a nice contrast with some more restrained, down tempo stuff...and that combo of a hair-raising scream and bone-crushing riff at about 2:45 will wreck your neck for sure.
Words of the Dying Man
The retro guitar hooks that kick this off remind me of a Southern-fried Kiss. The vocal hooks here are really cool and unique, with kind of a "rise and fall" motif to them. The band again show they're not afraid to mix some mellow and bluesy dynamics in. Ryan Lake's guitar solo is so old school, it'll make you cry to realize that this kind of playing is not yet dead.
The Beggar
You just can't get Southern-tinged metal any catchier than this. The "rolling" riff that drives most of this one reminds me of how Molly Hatchet should sound in the 21st century, with an extra layer of metal on their armor. The lyrics seem to have a real hellfire and damnation tone to them. Damn, these dudes know how to write some killer hooks!
None Shall Return
Up to this point, Open Fire has been a really good album, but from now on, it reaches another level yet. If this track doesn't get your head banging, go back to your Radiohead records. Fast, angry and oh so potent, this is one angry rattlesnake of a tune that shows ATP is the master of the metal riff - absolutely superb stuff. This is bolstered even further by another screaming Ryan Lake guitar solo.
Whiskey War
This isn't a song, it's a bare-knuckled Kentucky bar brawl. Chest-thumping defiance is the overwhelming feel here and Kyle's raw, bellowing vocals are the perfect accompaniment. What a great track! Molly Hatchet will definitely come to mind when hearing some of the tasty Southern guitar licks and it's not too much of a stretch to say this song proves Alabama Thunderpussy is the metal inheritor of Molly's legacy. "Ain't gonna take that sh** no more/ Take on the world, it's whiskey war!"
A Dreamer's Fortune
Another outstanding fist-pumping riff forms the backbone of this cut. A little less frantic than "None Shall Return" or "Whiskey War,” this is a real fist-pumping anthem with terrific bass and drum work to nail it all down.
This is more of a straight metal song with a fast, driving pace built around a melancholy twin guitar hook. The lyrics seem to reflect the thoughts of an enlisted man in Iraq and concentrate on the emotions of battle rather than a political statement.
Open Fire
The most purely heavy cut on the album, this is a real growling bear of a tune. Bryan Cox's fiery drum work is outstanding. There's something really grim and gritty that reminds me of ATP's labelmates High On Fire here. It's a very dark tune musically and lyrically and just generally steamrolls over everything.
Brave the Rain
In the Museum of Catchy Riffs, the bouncy, crunchy killer that drives this song should have an exalted place. Man, this is what down and dirty bluesy metal is all about. "The Beggar" and "A Dreamer's Fortune" were both great...this is even better and features some surprising melody at times.
"Greed": I would have probably ended the album with "None Shall Return" or "Whiskey War" but this cut is sure nothing to be ashamed of. There's an epic feel to some of this track and it's pretty heavy all around, with Thomas even unleashing some pretty guttural vocals Another slab of great bluesy metal peppered with great guitar soloing to finish off one of the most rocking albums released in the last decade.
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