Review Summary: Supafuzz raise above the heavy rock formula crafting a classic album that overflows with fuzz, distortion and top-notch songwriting. It's ferocious, deeply personal and poignant too.
Named after the 1970s guitar pedal, Supafuzz is one of these bands that should have been huge. Their debut album, released in 1998, displayed a sufficiently ferocious and addictive hard rock attitude to make the act overshadow some of the most popular artists of that time. What happened then? Aside from perhaps not enough publicity generated by their record label, the nu-metal crazed late 1990s weren't particularly the time for riff rock with retro-funk leanings. Despite this album's rather moderate commercial success, Supafuzz managed to record their sophomore album that stands as the undiscovered gem of heavy rock.
“All About The Rock” doesn't entirely resemble the band's great debut. A rather straightforward hard rock approach has been replaced with diversity. The band doesn't adhere to one style combining a plethora of influences. In this way, rough funk-metal cuts (“Subsonic”) are interwoven with fuzzed-out stoner rock anthems (“Tonic And Cigarettes”) and atmospheric power ballads (“Confession”). This variety obviously makes the album less cohesive with many tone and pace alternations, yet it doesn't really affect the experience of listening to the disc just because the songwriting is immensely powerful and compelling. As regards similarities to the debut, the songs still revolve around ingeniously crafted, groovy guitar riffs that along with a funk-laden vocal performance of formidable Dave Angstrom and always reliable rhythm section result in a seriously rocking sound.
Supafuzz are not only about rocking hard though. Their approach to songwriting involves artistry in showcasing the contrast between the loud and the quiet segments. This is probably the most evident in amazing “And Then She Blooms” which blends psychedelic, funky verses with a perfect alternative rock chorus and an acoustic intro and bridge. Every single track works perfectly significantly raising the bar for heavy rock in terms of dynamics and song craft alike. Furthermore, nearly every composition just boils with anger: it might be either overt as in aggressive verses of “Sick Of It” or expressed through resistance as in agony-ridden “Bottomed Out.” On those cuts and several others, the album even echoes the grunge movement depicting the same yearning for distortion and melody.
There is also a recurring theme of break-up and loss involved in Angstrom's lyrics. Other than plain, straightforward lyrics would feel out of place on this album. In fact, Angstrom delivers something that is much more precious than any elaborated, metaphorical content. He simply chooses to be sincere, which, coupled with his emotive vocals, translates into one of the most achingly personal delivery in rock music. This is why “Anesthesia” is almost unbearably intense and why “Bottomed Out” is so hopelessly indifferent in the most self-reflecting way possible. The lyrics actually advance telling the story of a failed relationship. Being highly relatable, they aren't all about anger and frustration. Such songs as “Blame” and “We're Alright” positioned in the latter half of the disc signal a hint of reconciliation, even if it's only seeming and ironic.
More than anything else “All About The Rock” feels like a blueprint for all the stoner rock bands to follow. It's in one of the standout tracks of the album where Angstrom proclaims he's a king of karma. It's really hard to argue that. His band is truly an essential listen for those even remotely interested in the heavy rock music. This album so totally rocks!