Album Review – Them County Bastardz / Sick Daze (2015)

These Canadian rednecks show us all what happens when the words “fun” and “metal” are put together in a very enjoyable way.

Rating5

TCB Cover - Sick DazeIt’s always a pleasure to see a new metal band that, above all things, enjoys having fun while composing and playing their music. Several renowned bands have already been like that at a given period of their careers, and almost always those are considered their true golden years. Influenced by the heavy and acid music by metal icons like Pantera, Godsmack and Hellyeah, here comes Canadian Heavy Metal band Them County Bastardz, offering us all their debut album entitled Sick Daze, an old school metal party that will invite you to have fun with the band, as simple as that. Well, metal music doesn’t need anything else to be good as long as it’s heavy and fun, don’t you agree?

Formed in 2013 and based in Leamington, Essex County, Ontario, Them County Bastardz like to keep it simple, focusing on straight-to-the-point riffs and explicit lyrics to provide the listener a good idea of how it is to live in their county. The whole album is inspired by their true stories and experiences, and by that you can imagine the crazy amount of fun they had creating the album. For instance, the name of the album is already connected to their lifestyle: according to the band members themselves, “sick daze” is when you take a Monday off work because you are still feeling the weekend fun.

After mentioning the word “fun” a hundred times in just a few lines, let’s get the party started and feel the real fun proposed by Them County Bastardz, beginning with the raw and direct awesomeness of the opening track, Drive By. It’s an old school rock/metal song about overspeeding, drinking and consequently breaking the law, with not a single second of boredom, and kudos to Andrew Watson for his excellent vocals à la Rob Zombie and to guitarist Brien Alexander for his exciting guitar riffs and solo. In The County continues with the “drinking and having trouble with the police” theme, showcasing strong influences from White Zombie and Godsmack, plus its Body Count-ish riffs supporting the rap-like vocal lines. And c’mon guys, MORE COWBELL!

TCB Press PhotoThe sludgy and heavy rhythm and the headbanging riffs in Buzz Kill go along really well with its simple but effective lyrics about real relationships (“And my girl was mad she said maybe you should leave / This happened once before she kicked me out the door / And I don’t even know why we are fighting anymore / This could of happened it should of happened”), while It’s Not Metal is just a short “tribute” (or whatever that is) to American Hard Rock veterans Extreme, more specifically to their biggest hit “More Than Words”, that works as an intro to the rude Metal For Mark (whoever Mark is). Their Thrash/Stoner Metal vein arises in this song, with its Pantera-inspired riffs by guitarists by Brien Alexander and Mike Rennie and violent harsh vocals by Andrew, all led by the beats by drummer Jim Kay, making it an awesome soundtrack for a pub fight scene.

The Bastard, a recommended song for enjoying a beer, smoothes things a little with its more melodic and lighter Stoner Rock approach, especially in terms of vocals, before Rise Up, a song about taking some action in your life (“Living your life inside that chair / Taking no chance because you’re scared / Saying those lies inside that prayer / Hoping you can just sit right there”), closes the album in a very decent and groovy way. In my opinion, this song could easily be re-recorded in a partnership with a Rap Metal act, and don’t forget to appreciate the strong bass lines by Tyler Wickham, they dictate the rhythm of the song together with the guitar riffs.

Sick Daze is available at the Them County Bastardz’s official BandCamp page, and you can also check their Facebook page for more information and news about the band. If you love when the words “fun” and “metal” go together, in special when there are talented and enthusiastic musicians behind that mix, this album will certainly put a smile upon your face while you’re having a beer and banging your head with your metal buddies.

Best moments of the album: Drive By and Metal For Mark.

Worst moments of the album: In The County.

Released in 2015 Smokehouse Records

Track listing
1. Drive By 4:48
2. In The County 4:33
3. Buzz Kill 4:03
4. It’s Not Metal 0:25
5. Metal For Mark 5:25
6. The Bastard 4:23
7. Rise Up 3:58

Band members
Andrew Watson – vocals
Brien Alexander – lead guitar
Mike Rennie – rhythm guitar
Tyler Wickham – bass
Jim Kay – drums

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