The Swamp Born Assassins – Smell The Mud
Running Time: 49:38
Release Date: 19/03/2017
Review by Paul Monkhouse
It’s hard to believe that these guys come from Scotland, such is the skill and lovingly crafted paeon of love to the best of Southern Rock, albeit it with a much dirtier edge on this, their latest album. The Glasgow based five-piece have captured the spirit of their many influences and infused the album with their heroes whilst very much retaining an identity all of their own.
The moment that the slide guitar comes in on ‘Out in the Rain’ you know that this is going to be a big slice of gritty rock that Lynyrd Skynyrd would play at their heaviest. With the opening line of ‘’Ever had one of those days when nothing goes right?’’ seeming like a snarling challenge, these guys come out swinging and you know you’ve going to have to hold on tight as they take off like a Nascar champion.
‘Never Ever Never’ starts off with the riff from ‘Peter Gunn’ passed through an ancient and overdriven amplifier and is another brutal, pounding belter. In the shape of Black Stone Cherry, this song is meant to be heard from tiny bars to huge festival stages and is brimming with some real old-style R&B fire. ‘Walk Tall’ is another track that somehow brings together the trio of Pantera, AC/DC and Aerosmith to produce an unholy lovechild that has parts of all three huge acts but is also distinctly their own creation.
There is such a great gumbo of sludge and fire in their material that is matched by power and subtlety. All the way through the album there are some truly nice little touches that add some incredible colour to what could have been potentially been just a straight-ahead rock/metal album. Successfully combining balls and brains, The Swamp Born Assassins have approached both the material and performances with real intelligence that certainly pays dividends.
The stomping ‘Crawl’ would be something that you get the feeling that the late, great Lemmy would love and is a later highlight of the album. All rock ‘n’ roll attitude and spirit it demands to be heard, as does the garage rock madness of the title cut, ‘Smell The Mud’, a track you can easily imagine in the soundtrack of a Rob Zombie movie. Sinewy and prowling the song is full of menace and features a great bit of guitarwork and gang harmony vocals.
Equally sinister is the haunting and haunted ‘Clara Bella Lee’, a blues duet that finishes the album in style. It’s also the longest and most expansive track of this release. Underpinned with a real swing, the interplay of male and female vocals works masterfully in a call and response where you don’t really know who the victim is. All the members of the band really bring things together in a truly epic slice of American Gothic, the superb arrangement of voices and some outstanding musicianship mark this as the highpoint of “Smell The Mud” and provides a real contrast to all the other balls to the wall tracks. A really great listen and one certainly worth seeking out and adding to your collection.
01. Out In The Rain
02.Never Ever Never
04.Dead Man Walking
05.Land Of The Six Gun
07.Smell The Mud
09.Clara Belle Lee
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