Sure, some say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Leave that idiom to your own judgment when coming to Poland's J.D. OVERDRIVE, unabashed lovers of PANTERA, DOWN, Nineties-era METALLICA and a certain American whiskey featured on Michael Anthony's favorite bass.
There's no real crime in what J.D. OVERDRIVE sets out to do, which is to mirror greased-up, Southern-fried metal. On their sophomore album, "Fortune Favors the Brave", Wojtek "Susel" Kaluza has his best Phil Anselmo impersonations down to a tee one nearly buys into them wholesale. Kaluza also pulls out a bit of "Load"-era James Hetfield in spots. After a while, though, there are only so many impressions one can stand before crying foul.
At the least, J.D. OVERDRIVE, as American metal and firewater connoisseurs, do an apt job in replicating a gutter rawk vibe that is currently ultra-hip in the U.S. underground. Pass the Jack, because "Fortune Favors the Brave" is best savored with a buzz to match its droning chugs, low-end reverb and gravelly yelping in the key of PANTERA's "5 Minutes Alone".
After a gratuitous film sample from the original "Night of the Living Dead" opens the album, J.D. OVERDRIVE kicks out "Born to Destroy", a DOWN and PANTERA amalgam with less thunder and compression. It serves as a basic synopsis of "Fortune Favors the Brave", which is a stripped caricature of western redneck rock with shitkicking tempos, rough boy chord patterns and charbroiled guitar solos.
The toe-tapping "Beware the Boozehound" throws in some syrupy organs amidst the song's upbeat grind and it should've been the album's first single instead of the less-amped "Funeral Stopper". The latter does contain some nifty drum rolls from Lukasz "Joorek" Jurewicz amidst the interchanging mid-tempo bobs and crunch lines. Still, "Beware the Boozehound", for all of its silliness, is the album's surefire bet.
Unfortunately, all of the bloody familiar chuffing and chawing becomes passe once "Standing Tall" rambles into the boiled-over, ralphing "Call of the South". The would-be Dixie-doom crawl of "Shadow of the Beast" is well-executed for half of its seven-minute slogging journey until it protracts needlessly beyond some spiraling guitar solos from Michal "Stempel" Stemplowski.
The album at least wraps on a meaty finale with "Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst" in which DOWN and CORROSION OF CONFORMITY come to a head on Polish turf. For all of its shucking and jiving, "Fortune Favors the Brave" is nonetheless a bare bones masquerade of American piss rock that has appeal if, for some unthinkable reason, you need a break from DOWN's "NOLA".