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On disc: Double-Wide

18 Wheels Of Misery - Mike Thompson - 8 stars

18 Wheels Of Misery

18 Wheels Of Misery
(self-released - 2010)

Named for a Corrosion Of Conformity song, it is no surprise that Northern Ireland's Double-Wide play groove laden Southern metal inspired by their heroes in Pantera, Down and Crowbar. There are quite a few Southern metal influenced bands across the UK and Ireland, not least amongst them Snakebite and Castero, but not all of them are good. Fortunately Double-Wide, from the earliest notes of this album, prove themselves to be in the top echelon of British and Irish bands playing this form of music.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable listen from start to finish that begins with a great instrumental intro called Solid Ground that showcases some nice, controlled guitar playing. All of the songs blend together to form a strong, homogeneous whole and whilst never reaching the lofty heights of the likes of genre greats like Black Label Society (well, it is only their debut so that wasn't expected!) each and every song on here is laden with groovy riffs and the rebellious attitude of the Southern states of the US. The title track itself is fantastic and I could really imagine myself driving along the interstate in a chugging big rig thinking about life!
The songs themselves are powered forward by the chunky guitars over a solid foundation of deep, grooving bass and solid drumming. The vocals of Jon are very much like a smoother Phil Anselmo (probably needs to drink more whisky and smoke more cigarettes...) and again add to that feeling of this album coming from the Southern states rather than Northern Ireland! This whole album makes you want to drink yourself into a Jack Daniel's stupor, wrap yourself in the Confederate flag and proclaim that "The South will rise again!" at the top of your voice!
At the end of the album is a cover of Holy Diver, played as a tribute to the late, great Ronnie James Dio. A lot of bands have covered this song, but I have to take my (cowboy) hat off to Double-Wide for putting their own stamp on it. It actually sounds like it belongs on the album rather than just being a completely out of place addition.
A great debut from this trio who will only get better with experience. Top tracks to check out are Solid Ground, 18 Wheels Of Misery and Devil's Ride... and just raise your horns to the Holy Diver cover. \m/

8 stars

Mike Thompson


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