Released: Feb 19, 2016
Genre: Hard Rock, Blues Rock, Southern Rock
Label: Mascot Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
With a solid sophomore release, Monster Truck asserts itself as the torchbearer of modern hard, blues based rock.
Sittin' HeavyFeatured review by: UG Team, on march 26, 2016 2 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: Monster Truck is a bluesy, hard rock band from Hamilton, Ontario in Canada. UG was (partially) introduced to them through a fan review of their debut album (thanks iammclovin). If the comments on iammclovin's review can be believed, Monster Truck's guitarist, Jeremy Widerman, has had a UG account since 2012 under the name MonsterJer. The band is also known to respond to guitarists' questions and comments on their official Facebook page. Monster Truck's debut album made the charts in Canada. Also, a song from this album, "The Enforcer," is now the official theme song of "Hockey Night in Canada" and it received a rousing endorsement from colorful hockey analyst Don Cherry.
If "Furiosity" put Monster Truck on the map, then this album will make them a small destination city. It follows the same style as "Furiosity" with some slight quality differences. Widerman's double tracked guitar is the most important element of the album with Jon Harvey's powerful voice not far behind. The songs rock hard and there is a definite blues influence on each of them. There are also traditional pentatonic guitar solos on the songs, a welcome sound to the ears of those who grew up on AC/DC and Black Sabbath. On the other hand, Widerman is not as good a soloist as Angus Young or Tony Iommi, and that is clear too. Maybe it makes for a more wistful situation after all.
Nevertheless, the riffs rock hard and are very catchy. I can hum most of them after listening to the album a couple of times. I can already envision listening to this album as part of a normal workout routine; this is the type of stuff that can power you through when you need it. As far as the rhythm section goes, there is not much to speak of. This means that the drums, bass, and keys provide a solid, if not heroic, backdrop for the guitars and vocals to do their jobs. There is nothing above average but on the other hand there is nothing that stands out negatively and there is always the immeasurable benefit that a solid rhythm section provides to the lead instruments. As a fan of the band, I wish that the keys were utilized a bit more. For most of this album they just double the guitar part, which drowns them out. I would like to see how this band could sound if the keys were a more independent instrument in the band. // 8
Lyrics: Jon Harvey's voice alone is probably half the draw of the album. It doesn't seem like he has much of a range, but he is absolutely excellent with whatever he has to work with. To put it succinctly, Harvey's voice is the epitome of a blues rock voice. He sings with power so great that one can't help but hope the band releases albums as quickly as possible to catch the lightning in a bottle, so to speak. Again as a fan, I really hope that Harvey takes care of his voice so that we can hear it just as loud and powerful twenty or thirty years down the road. Regarding lyrics, there isn't anything stylistically or subject-wise that is out of the ordinary except for the aforementioned song about hockey. // 8
Overall Impression: Overall, on this album the songwriting is a more interesting, the riffs are a little catchier, and the vocals are a little livelier than on "Furiosity." Monster Truck believes they have found their niche in the music world and here they try to drive it home. Though it is nice to hear good, old rock and roll, it is clear that with the exception of Jon Harvey's vocals, the band does not meet the standard of the '70s greats. To put it succinctly, Monster Truck may be one of the most successful bands doing what they're doing, but there is still room for someone else to push them aside.
Songs from this album that are definitely worth your time include "Don't Tell Me How to Live," "She's a Witch," and "Things Get Better." // 7