Review Summary: Suplecs combine plenty of musical styles to craft a southern rock album that is both uniquely diverse and concise.
Just as the majority of New Orleans' inhabitants, southern rock trio Suplecs had to face the consequences of demolition caused by Hurricane Katrina. This has resulted in a five-year long hiatus in their songwriting process. Thankfully, they have managed to return way stronger as well as more furious than before. Their first album on Small Stone Records "Mad Oak Redoux" showcases the band at their prime with a melting pot of influences adroitly interwoven with one another. While Suplecs still retain the characteristic stonerish sound along with southern vibe of their previous albums, "Mad Oak Redoux" is evidently their most adventurous and unpredictable effort. It's impossible to foresee how the next song will sound like, which comes as a significant asset especially when compared to the general lack of resourcefulness in the genre.
The whole album oozes with post-Katrina aggression being the album's loose lyrical theme. This attitude manifests itself unexclusively in a fist-raising nu-metal/rap crossover of "Fema Man" as well as alternative guitar rock of "World's On Fire" which recalls some mellower tracks out of TAD's "8-Way Santa." The middle section of the album sounds absolutely phenomenal beginning with a refreshing stoner rock anthem "Tried To Build An Engine" in which largely chanted vocals coexist with smooth, yet bombastic ever-changing guitar riffs. Guitarist Durel Yates also shines through almost entirely instrumental "2x4," the reflective composition that evokes images of the tragedy only to transform into galloping trash metal. The effect is nothing less than breathtaking.
Another standout track "In Your Shadow" can be described as a hybrid between sludge metal of Crowbar and alternative rock of "Doolittle"-era Pixies. What doesn't sound good on paper Suplecs are able to transform into a mine of gold in this supremely catchy, old-school tune. To make the disc even more diverse, the act display their punk influences in "Stepped On" which resembles surf-rockers Fu Manchu. Whereas "Coward" exemplifies a more conventional, groove-oriented approach to stoner metal, the album ends on a high note with slow, atmospheric sludge expertly executed in "Switchblade."
With their influences all over the place, Suplecs provide a valuable lesson on the history of hard rock encompassing in one concise disc more musical styles than most bands are able to cover throughout their entire career. "Mad Oak Redoux" easily might have been a failure, but by means of top-notch songwriting it is quite the opposite, a triumphant southern rock record that refuses to be taken lightly.