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Crazed country rebel. - 90%

Empyreal, May 22nd, 2012

Hank III, a veteran country star and a descendant of two very famous country stars of old, made it onto the metal-archives for one of his newest albums, which apparently has some doom metal elements in it. I haven’t heard that one yet. But this album, the venerable Straight to Hell, is one ace piece of music with catchy hooks and a ton of attitude to spare.

I’m not a country expert. This genre of music is just one I haven’t delved much into yet. Hank III is kind of the metal bridge into the genre as he has a couple other projects like Assjack that flirt with heavier elements, but Straight to Hell is pure country bliss. Rumbling acoustic guitars, some seedy atmospheric touches and the reedy, nasal voice of the man himself belting out inimitable, ironclad hooks you will never forget, that’s about all you get on here. The songs are short but sweet, and they’re all either fast pelting, goofy numbers or slower, more somber ballads, all of which are done with finesse and style. With standout tracks like the headstrong title song, the bluesy “Country Heroes,” the powerful “Things You Do To Me,” the dreary “Low Down” and the complete balls-out zaniness of “Dick in Dixie,” which has more attitude and bite than a pack of wolverines, how can you not enjoy Straight to Hell? Practically a zenith of catchy, laid back music for a rainy afternoon or a long, hot walk to some favored destination. These tunes all just rule. Special mention does have to be given to closer “Angel of Sin,” which is a longer song and the most emotional one on display – just a touching ode, and a perfect closer to the album.

I’d go into more detail about the songs themselves, but really there’s not much of a point in elaborating TOO much, because hey, it’s just the barest bones of good music, no adornments needed. That’s really what I like about this; there’s just no bullshit in it. It’s a collection of songs that are just the right length – not too long, not too short – and performed with a true passion and zeal for music. For gutsy and attitude-filled yet easy-going country, Hank III’s Straight to Hell will deliver. You don’t need to know a damn thing about the genre to get into this one. It’s just a run of fucking awesome tunes and I highly recommend it. Go hear it. You’ll feel like you’re ready to trek through the seedy, run-down South and make it your home.