HOGNOSE
"¡El Sombrero!"

(Arclight)

01. Weedbilly
02. Local Honey
03. Warren Oates
04. Meadowlark
05. Muffin
06. El Chamuco
07. Huntin' Rake
08. The First Song
09. Breathe (bonus track)

RATING: 7/10

Texas loud, Texas proud, pissing on genre boundaries and creating some shit-kicking boot metal in the process, HOGNOSE wield some riffs that are half Seventies boogie, half overdriven stoner metal, and kinds of a good time.

Though the metal boogie is paramount, HOGNOSE manage to diversify things a bit here and there. "Local Honey" is four-on-the-floor adrenaline, old (good) AEROSMITH filtered through dead horse with shouted vocals and a headbanging groove. Then the next song, "Warren Oates", takes on a CLUTCH vibe, showing off a slippery riff and some nice jammy soloing in the middle. And just when you think you've got 'em figured out, the eight-minute "Muffin" gets all pretty on ya – a slow-building, sleepy, Sunday-morning testifyin' instrumental that crescendos into a big, warm anthem, the sort of song where a good rockin' band can take a few basic building blocks and, through sheer intensity of playing, make an epic.

And lest you worry they're gonna go soft on you, the crunching "El Chamuco" is next up, somehow sounding like a demented ROB ZOMBIE let loose on some moonshine and peyote in the desert. Hell, they even end the record with an unlisted of the PINK FLOYD chestnut "Breathe", and manage to make it sound a little greasy and barbecue-stained. Maybe it's the yowling vocals (when they can be bothered with 'em, HOGNOSE leaving them out for long passages, the riff being king here), but my money is on months, if not years, locked in some sweltering Austin garage or basement, sweating out gallons of Shiner Bock beer and fusing into a half-crazed rock colossus. I mean, wandering through the maze of stoned-out SABBATH and refried classic ALICE COOPER that is the ten minute album ender "Hunting Rake" and "The First Song" is almost a psychedelic experience, followed quickly by a boogie-rocked ass kicking at the end. I dunno if I've heard anyone metal up these classic Seventies grooves this good since I first heard BOULDER.

"¡El Sombrero!" is a damn fine slab of Lone Star rock and roll done right, captured loud and spittin' here (although nothing beats seeing these cats live, preferably in a hot, tiny bar while drunk). Somewhere, Billy Gibbons is smiling – and if you have to be told he's the guy from ZZ TOP, you may not be who HOGNOSE is lookin' for here.

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