Southern Metal as raw, exciting and heavy as it can be.
Southern United States has always provided headbangers lots of awesome bands such as Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, Down and, of course, Groove/Thrash Metal gods Pantera, and if there’s one thing that elevates this type of heavy music above many other genres is the passion those bands add to their music, an incredible mix of Rock N’ Roll, Country Music and Blues that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Now, directly from Chickasha, Oklahoma, comes the excellent Southern Metal band Anti-Mortem, and their debut-album New Southern is just as heavy and dirty as hell.
The Anti-Mortem guys play with their hearts and souls throughout the entire record, never sounding bored or tired, which pretty much represents what Southern Rock really is. The songs might not be the fastest nor the most creative in the world, but they’re fuckin’ heavy (especially the lyrics and riffs), keeping the energy bar always high for the delight of all metalheads, hard rockers and bikers who enjoy sharing a cold beer with friends at a pub while listening to some good heavy music. Do not expect to listen to anything new or different in their music, like keyboards, electronic effects or any other kind of shit, the music here is just pure Rock N’ Roll.
The opening track, Words Of Wisdom, is an excellent summary of all that was said above: awesome heavy riffs the likes of Crowbar and Down, those dirty vocals we love, and a slow and heavy chorus that is totally catchy; while the following song, the title-track New Southern, provides us some more pure Southern Metal, as if the band is paying a tribute to Down with it. Then come my favorite song in New Southern, the powerful 100% Pure American Rage, with its engaging rhythm, direct riffs, cool lyrics (“We took all we will take / Our hate is American made / City to city, state to state / Our rage is American made”) and another great vocal performance by singer Larado Romo, and Hate Automatic, a more traditional Hard Rock tune with a chorus tailored for live performances. And if you didn’t like what you’ve listened to until here, well, I feel really sorry for you.
However, if you’re a true hard rocker and wants some more Anti-Mortem inside your ears and brain, you’ll enjoy the next song, Black Heartbeat, an interesting mix of Hard Rock and Glam Metal with elements from bands such as Skid Row, Alice In Chains, A7X and Audioslave, and simply love the excellent heavy tune I Get Along With The Devil, with its very southern sonority and explicit lyrics. Then we have the average song Path To Pain, which despite it’s nice vocals is nothing really outstanding; Wake Up, the type of song all hard rockers and bikers from the United States and the rest of the world just love from the bottom of their hearts; and the good Ride Of Your Life, with highlights to the good riffs which blend amazingly with the vocals.
New Sothern’s last part has some good and not so good moments, which includes Stagnant Water, with total focus on the heavy riffs and the rumbling sound of the bass guitar, with a very cool guitar solo; Truck Stop Special, a generic song that doesn’t add any value to the album; Jonesboro, another average song which despite its good start could have been a lot better after all; and a fun and very competent cover version for Mr. Big’s A Little Too Loose as a bonus track. I guess the lyrics for this song (“I got a little too loose / In Oklahoma city”) were the inspiration for Anti-Mortem to record their version of it, don’t you agree?
And finally, ladies and gentleman, we have another 100% serious contender for “best album art of the year”: the front cover for New Southern is astonishingly perfect! Kudos to American artist Brent Elliott White, who has worked with so many awesome bands such as Trivium, Arch Enemy, Megadeth, Death Angel and Chimaira, which makes it easy to see why Anti-Mortem ended up choosing him to illustrate their music.
In summary, as I previously said, there’s nothing new in the music found in New Southern, but how can someone not get thrilled with it? It’s raw, honest, dirty and fuckin’ heavy, exactly the way Southern Metal should be, and while we have bands like Anti-Mortem spreading their powerful crude melody everywhere, we can rest assured heavy music will never die.
Best moments of the album: Words of Wisdom, 100% Pure American Rag, I Get Along With The Devil and A Little Too Loose.
Worst moments of the album: Path To Pain, Truck Stop Special and Jonesboro.
Released in 2014 Nuclear Blast Records
1. Words Of Wisdom 4:24
2. New Southern 4:06
3. 100% Pure American Rage 3:36
4. Hate Automatic 3:57
5. Black Heartbeat 3:43
6. I Get Along With The Devil 2:57
7. Path To Pain 3:34
8. Wake Up 3:23
9. Ride Of Your Life 3:50
10. Stagnant Water 4:44
11. Truck Stop Special 4:05
12. Jonesboro 4:19
13. A Little Too Loose (Mr. Big Cover) 5:20
Larado Romo – Vocals
Nevada Romo – Guitar
Corey Henderson – Bass
Zain Smith – Guitar
Levi Dickerson- Drums