Friday 1 March 2013

Tombstone Highway - Ruralizer - Review

Tombstone Highway - Ruralizer

Tombstone Highway

Agonia Records
February/ March 2013 

The band:

H.M Outlaw - Vocals, Guitars, Banjo 
Emilio "S.O.B." Sobacchi - Drums

Session musicians:

Mario Percudani - Guitars
Razor SK - Guitars
Paolo Apollo Negri - Organ


1. Old Blood 04:49
2. Acid Overlord 04:52
3. Graveyard Blues 07:18
4. Hellfire Rodeo 02:32
5. Ruralizer 05:14
6. Bite the Dust (and Bleed) 05:08
7. At the Bitter End 09:03
8. Mississippi Queen (Mountain cover) 02:28
9. Hangman's Friend 05:25 

Total play time: 46:49

This Italian duo is a different proposition. They mix stoner, heavy rock, 70's rock, southern rock and banjos in equal measures. If this sounds weird it definitely was for me too at first. But each listen made Ruralizer grow more and more until I actually realised how good it is. The band doesn't really bring anything new to the table, apart from the banjo that is, instead it's the way Tombstone Highway write and perform their songs that makes the album stand out.

Drawing from a huge well of inspiration Tombstone Highway's sound will appeal to anyone into Lynyrd Skynyrd, Down, Pride & Glory, ZZ Top et al although they have a distinct sound of their own. H.M Outlaw and Emilio "S.O.B" Sobacchi are very accomplished musicians where H.M is a riff-meister indeed. And it's in his guitar playing where the southern rock comes forth.

Another aspect of Tombstone Highway that appeals to me is their origins. To me Italy is renowned for doom, power and technical metal and definitely not southern-tinged riff-fest infused heavy stoner rock. Don't get me wrong, their music is what makes Ruralizer such a good album, no questions asked. Still hearing an Italian band play this kind of music is refreshing.

Usually I never mention anything negative in my reviews. However, this time I feel compelled to do so. Towards the end they have included a cover of Mississippi Queen and musically there's nothing wrong at all, in fact they kind of make it their own song. It's in the singing department Tombstone Highway fails which is weird because H.M sings really well on all the other songs. But on Mississippi Queen he is off by a mile and a half so my suggestion to you who is reading this...let the music do the talking when you get to this track.

Don't let the previous paragraph influence your decision in checking these guys out or not. Tombstone Highway are a very good band and a bit of fresh air in a sometimes congested musical world. Ruralizer is the perfect album to get a party started especially if the guests are just standing around digging their bellybuttons trying to be supercool. Listen, rock out and enjoy a very good heavy rock album folks.

Håkan Nyman

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