As the great Mick Jagger would say, I know it’s only Rock N’ Roll but I like it.
What once was a cover band to AC/DC, Motörhead and other classic bands back in 1998 can now be considered a reality in the world of heavy music: Norwegian Hard Rockers Humbucker are definitely here to stay. After a huge hiatus from 2002 to 2010, when they got back together to finally record their debut album R.O.C.K.S between 2011 and 2012, it’s time for one of “Norway’s coolest and most hard-working rock bands” (according to the band itself!) to release their second album, the pure Hard Rock party King of the World.
Actually, the Hard Rock in King of the World is far away from being pure: it’s just that when I say “pure” I mean “dirty”, got it? Because pure Hard Rock must have dirty lyrics, dirty riffs and dirty musicians. Of course a band can be very dirty but professional at the same time, without losing that delightful raw musicality perfect for enjoying a beer with friends and family, and that’s exactly what Humbucker do in this album. This can already be seen in the opening track, “beautifully” named Self-Made Son Of A Bitch, which after its short bass intro turns into a motherfuckin’-drunk-kick ass Hard Rock song with an excellent chorus and everything it needs to become a hit.
One Size Fits All keeps the party moving with its very traditional Rock N’ Roll approach, and I truly believe this song was made to be played exclusively at a Rock N’ Roll pub full of beautiful girls, close friends and awesome beer. The same can be said about the title-track, King Of The World, which sounds a lot like a Hard Rock version for the all-time The Rolling Stones’ classic “It’s only Rock N’ Roll (But I Like It)”, and Gone Fishing, with its funny lyrics, heavy riffs and rhythmic drums. In my opinion, the beginning of the album couldn’t have been any dirtier and more traditional than this.
Then come one of the best songs of the album, Dirty Nelly, a superb tribute to the good old Rock N’ Roll from the 60’s with some extra “spice” from the 80’s, and Harder Being Me, a generic ballad a la Mr. Big’s “Wild World” that doesn’t have the same punch of all previous tracks, but that doesn’t compromise the overall quality of the album by any means.
The last part of the album has its highs and lows: while Lone Rider has a nice metallic riff and is a pretty good song to hit the road, Lord Have Mercy and its country elements are not enough to make this song a memorable one. Hey You! raises the bar just a little with its nice guitar solos and cheesy chorus, and the last track of the album, I Did It All (Thank You & Goodnight!), is a goddamn awesome tribute to the one and only Motörhead, one of the biggest influences in the band’s career as previously mentioned.
Moreover, if you still have any energy (or beer?) left for some more thrilling Hard Rock, you’re going to love the bonus tracks Strongman, an excellent fast tune previously released by the band only as a single available for digital download, and a very competent cover version for Whitesnake’s Wine, Women An’ Song.
A very interesting fact about Humbucker is that the band is even selling special signed CD copies of King of the World in jewel case in their website, showing how much they care about their “baby” and, of course, their fans. And finally, we all have to admit how cool the album art is and give lots of kudos to the awesome French Photoshop artist Ludovic Cordelières of Rusalkadesign.com. If you have some free time, I really suggest you go check out the “making of” video and other details about Pattern Platform I: Monarch, the “name” of the art that became King of the World’s front cover, it’s really interesting.
In summary, are Humbucker an excellent Hard Rock band with very talented musicians? Yes. Are they trying to reinvent the wheel with their music? Not even a little. And that’s probably why they nailed it with King of the World: we all know it’s only Rock N’ Roll, but we certainly like it. Yes, we do.
Best moments of the album: Self-Made Son Of A Bitch, One Size Fits All, Dirty Nelly and I Did It All (Thank You & Goodnight!).
Worst moments of the album: Harder Being Me and Lord Have Mercy.
Released in 2014 Abysmal Sounds
1. Self-Made Son Of A Bitch 2:40
2. One Size Fits All 3:17
3. King Of The World 2:41
4. Gone Fishing 3:07
5. Dirty Nelly 2:48
6. Harder Being Me 4:11
7. Lone Rider 3:41
8. Lord Have Mercy 4:11
9. Hey You! 3:25
10. I Did It All (Thank You & Goodnight!) 2:21
11. Wine, Women An’ Song (Whitesnake cover) 3:44
12. Strongman 3:41
Jan Anders “Longbeard” Bøen – lead vocals
John Petter “No Thanks” Pershaug – guitars
Vidar “Maniac” Svanheld – guitars
Lars Stian “Too Late” Havraas – bass
Geir Arne “The Cannon” Dale – drums