Review Summary: If even a third of you is a red blooded male, you will love this record.
One could argue that the all encompassing virtues of “c*ck” rock were mastered by AC/DC. Regardless of how hard Airbourne tries to duplicate the simplistic, riff powered groove of their old school idols, with a few exceptions, they sorely miss the necessary components of competent hard-rock focused songwriting and the ever essential bag of sleaze. In order to effectively replicate the chest-beating snarl of the Australian pioneers, a hard rock act must effectively meld the traditional weaponry of standout riffs, hooks, and catchy choruses with a genuine, unadulterated swagger. In the world of c*ck rock, with apologies to novelty acts like Nashville Pussy, the co-mingling of these essential concepts has not been noticeably achieved in the last twenty years, unless your name is Jackyl.
Jackyl’s self titled 1992 debut is best described as AC/DC in their prime with a bigger set of huevos. After surviving the onslaught of power riffs, gang vocals, thundering grooves, and lyrics that make Buckcherry’s “Crazy Bitch” sound like something out of a children’s book, one could make the argument that Jackyl’s debut is the best AC/DC album since “The Razor’s Edge,” possibly even “Back in Black.” The traditional hard rock elements are in place, but Jackyl does not suffer from the quintessential c*ck rock folly, namely an album with one or two standouts surrounded by a legion of filler. The record is powered throughout by a catchiness that saturated AC/DC’s earliest and finest albums. The differentiating factor with Jackyl is their ability to crank the sleaze factor to its maximum without becoming a strict novelty act. AC/DC may not land on your mother’s wholesome list, but they also never stamped records with lines like “to get to my c*ck she would walk through the flames of hell,” “I love the thought of you coming down on me,” and “she’s got a dirty little mind and she likes it from behind.”
As Jackyl navigates the road to unadulterated sleaze town, the listener cannot help but pump their fists for the ride. Campy platitudes abound, and while filthy tracks like “She Loves My C*ck” (one of the best hard rock songs in the past twenty years) and “Dirty Little Mind” rely heavily on snarl and arrogance, both contain a sense of irresistible catchiness, leading the soundtrack to your favorite frat party or mullet infested State Fair. “Just Like a Devil” and “Redneck Punk” are carried by rolling, thundering grooves, while singles “I Stand Alone,” “Down on Me,” “When Will It Rain,” and “The Lumberjack Song” all borrow the most redeeming aspects of hair metal, throw out the glam aspects, and add an essential component of southern fried filth. The latter track is driven by not a guitar, but a chainsaw solo, a sophomoric yet effective tactic that would ultimately become the band’s signature.
Looking back, Jackyl’s legacy is with little exception focused on the almost universally banned “She Loves My C*ck” and the aforementioned chainsaw toting of crazed frontman Jesse James Dupree. Although these components to their history are essential in understanding and appreciating the bands work, they often overshadow the notion that this effort is one of the strongest hard rock records of the last twenty years. Forgoing the quintessential power ballad and substituting an unrivaled embracement of sleaze, Jackyl at one moment in time laid waste to almost every hair metal/hard rock release in its competition. Had their glorified macho posturing been toned down a bit, they would have had greater commercial success, but that would have subtracted from the legitimacy of the album. Jackyl will never have a discography to match their Australian idols, but they managed to surpass the majority of their efforts on this release.