Rhythm & Views

Alabama Thunderpussy

What could be heavier than Haystacks Calhoun and Andre the Giant grappling in a steel-cage death match, louder than a runaway locomotive hauling a cargo load of malfunctioning World War II air-raid sirens, and nastier than Jenna Jameson's private parts? Why, the lasciviously stupid, Southern-bred Alabama Thunderpussy (ATP), of course.

Obviously influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Thin Lizzy, these metal maniacs alternate between epic, acoustic-strummed power ballads and full-throttle riffing. Past albums featured filthy, amphetamine-fueled truck-stop rock, but on Fulton Hill, Guns 'N' Roses-fashioned ballads like "Alone Again" are a welcome diversion. However, it's new vocalist Johnny Weils' throat-shredding pipes that put to bed any fears that ATP have morphed into Dixie-fried Kansas wannabes. Rampant upswings in tempos, full-bore distortion and patented low-end rumbling end up surfacing on subsequent tracks as ATP dive head first into the thick, riff-laden mongrel masterpiece of "Lunar Eclipse," led by the pulverizing twin guitar leads of Erik Larson and Ryan Lake, and the speedy, brutally precise, punk-laced diatribe of "Blasphemy."

ATP may have a laughable and burdensome moniker, but the churning metallic-grind these backwoods knuckle-draggers concoct propels them above and beyond the fossilized remains of the stoner-rock dung heap.