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Johnny Touch/ Knoxville Knife Fight (Night) - 76%

CHAIRTHROWER, November 9th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2010, Cassette, Abysmal Sounds

I'll often descry unfamiliar bands right up my alley by their moniker alone; such is the recent case with Australia's Johnny Touch, founded a decade ago in Victoria and boasting of a 3-track EP, a couple of splits with Doomed Beast and Stryker as well as a coveted full-length from 2014, Inner City Wolves (under the reputable Shadow Kingdom Records), which I unfalteringly heaped at the top of my wanted list after gleaning said EP, 2010's Fight For It, released on cassette under Abysmal Sounds.

On first listen the crisp level of production instantly brings to mind Scanner's Hypertrace from 1988 whilst the actual musicianship's traditional bent conjures images of like-minded contemporaries such as Scandinavians Blizzen and Loanshark with a "touch" of Montreal's Metalian thrown in for good measure. Although it was recorded as a trio, at press time the band's listed as a quartet with a complete line-up overhaul. In any case, the eleven minutes of congenial hard rocking goodness at hand feature Sam Marzden on the mike accompanied by Denny Blake on guitar and drums with Damon 'Rip n' Hacker' Good on bass. Works for me!

The first track, "Knife Fight Night", with its snarky Savatage-esque guitar riff and vocals, has me fondly reminiscence on that jocular scene from Bad Grandpa when Johnny Knoxville moronically schools his grandson on said gritty matter: "Stick it in the fucker's thigh and run!" Ha! Its highlight is the drumming which pummels from every direction while greatly varying beats. Nevertheless, it's the weaker of the three as I can't wait to fully revel in the metallic and smarmy Ted Nugent - think a whiskey soaked "Stranglehold" - vocal part midway through "Master Your Masters", sustained as it is by a temper tantrum inducing, neck snapping riff. Mind you, the first half of this song as well as "Leather Reputation" both feature sections which bring to mind the bang-on chromatic riff from AC/DC's epochal "Back In Black". Thankfully, they're only mildly repetitive nor detract from their appeal.

This last track is rad too, what with its fluidly thumping bass line, bare bones loose n' easy lead and best of all, a wickedly sly and oleaginous guitar riff at 01:34 which unequivocally reminds me of a classic Black Sabbath riff from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath I can't quite put my finger on at the moment. Admittedly, Fight For It gets old pretty quick but its auspicious feel is eventually justified by the much more solid and complex full-length - you can bet I've Johnny Touch (J. Touch for short) under my radar!