Released: 1997, Standing Suitcase
Once in a while we here at Metal-Rules will dig into the vaults and pull out a nice little gem to share with our readership. As some of our long-time readers may know, Rick and I are big-time fans of the band American Dog. Over the past decade or so we have supported the band and generally felt their output is pretty damn solid. Well looking back through the heaps of crap in the junkyard, there was a band, the missing link between Michael Hannon’s first band, Salty Dog and his current project American Dog. That band was Hilljack.
Hilljack’s independent debut came out in 1997 and eventually morphed into the big, bad junkyard dog that is American Dog. In fact, half a dozen of the songs on this 13 track disc made it onto later American Dog releases. Think of this as the mean, little puppy whose bark was worse than his bite, that later grew up into to raging, alcoholic, pitbull we know and love today.
Hannons’ vocals on this are…well…pretty unrefined. He still has his characteristic style but it is obvious he has improved as a vocalist. Maybe it’s budget, maybe it’s production, maybe it’s a vocal coach or practice but he has improved and yeah…he sounds pretty damn raw here. That’s OK cuz this is drunken red-neck, rock ’n’ roll, not symphonic metal. Raging guitars fire up a beautiful bonfire of Jackyl meets Ted Nugent at some bush-party in the back-40 and the hang-over is totally worth it. The lyrics speak to serious, academic topics such as global warming, deforestation, aboriginal rights, animal rights….actually no…that would be lying. Every song is about drinking and sex. Or being hung-over. I mean, really, what else is a true rock band going to write about?
It’s a nice treat, this disc, decent presentation with the evil Scarecrow mascot dude, a dozen songs about drinkin’ and yellin’…plus a Motorhead cover, and not an obvious or predictable choice to cover, by any means. I would suggest that American Dog fans get this great, little raw n’ unrefined rawk record. I can guarantee you this, this puppy was never cute, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. If you want to get a copy of this go to http://www.americandog.us
and tell the pack that the dog-catchers at the Metal-Rules junkyard sent ya to get yer rabies shot.