Let's be real here. For every ten hard rock and metal bands out there, eight are Jonesing to be one of the following: METALLICA, BLACK SABBATH, SLAYER, MOTORHEAD, IRON MAIDEN, FATES WARNING, JUDAS PRIEST or AC/DC. Indeed, the most emulated of these is AC/DC, a band that struck the right chord with the right rock audience during the seventies and early eighties. They might not have changed everything, but they sure changed enough. Reminders of how glorious the Bon Scott and early Brian Johnson years were have routinely been thrown in our faces by the likes of KROKUS, ROSE TATTOO, JUNKYARD, "Electric" era CULT and, of course, RHINO BUCKET. Let's not forget post-Baltimore years KIX, who served up Brian "Damage" Forsythe to the Van Nuys quartet in 1998.
RHINO BUCKET has made zero qualms about who and what it is. AC/DC might as well punctuate as vote-of-choice addendum to the title of the group's first album in six years, "The Last Real Rock n' Roll". After all, one song after another here is spooled without shame from the House of Young. You know all the familiar blues chord strikes, the prolonged notes at the end of a verse, the tap-tap-tappity guitar plunks, the dick-thrusting bass whirs and tireless rhythms to drive it all home.
All of the above are present and accounted for on "The Last Real Rock n' Roll", also included is the same done-to-death sex and booze lyrical debauchery evidenced by "I'm Your Doctor" ", "Last Call", "Falling Down the Stairs", "Bang My Drum", "Misery" and "It's a Sin". Positively, "The Last Real Rock n' Roll" has more energy to spare than a Viagra pack on a Friday night. Most RHINO BUCKET fans not only forgive the band's omnipresent Angus worship, they've silently considered the band's albums as intermittent ones to chew on until AC/DC itself drops new material. The group's facsimile is so convincing, former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright dropped by for a stint in 1994.
Georg Dolivo and bassist Reeve Downes remain from the original '86 troupe; these days the pair are joined by Brian Forsythe and 2012 drumming pickup, Dave DuCey, who makes his first recorded appearance with RHINO BUCKET. Dolivo sounds a little long in the tooth on the mike, to be honest, though he certainly plunks his frets with the same urgency he began with. He's inviting on the opening number, "Hello Citizens", and he embraces rather than shies from his slobbering drawls over these songs, which are painfully derivative unless you sing "High Voltage" in your sleep.
Again, RHINO BUCKET gained its cred in replication and the band's fans will take you to the mat over any of the usual dismissals. In spots, "The Last Real Rock n' Roll" yields a few gnarly shakeups, such as the country pop swing over "Everything You Do" and the pimping bass line on "So Long". "Bang My Drum" yields a muscular rhythm up to its title and a groovy set of riffs taking the song beyond its obvious primer. Funny enough, "Swing and a Miss" is more tailored to the KROKUS style of AC/DC simulation than the group's own.
Full point demerit for RHINO BUCKET's tacky bell tolls leading off "The Devil You Know", proving that even the best intentions of homage can sometimes backfire. "Hells Bells" this could never be, save for a blunt cover job, and here is where novelty catches up with and all but foils a career's worth of largely well-received tribute.