Review Summary: Straight up hard rock with a southern drawl
Riddled with F-bombs and the occasional lyrics about drinking, driving trucks (mind you, not at the same time), and how they just want to rock and/or roll, Trucker Diablo is not afraid to show their true colors; [url]Songs of Iron[/url] is some straight up hard rock with a southern drawl. At 14 tracks and almost every song over 4 minutes long, Songs of Iron
can be a bit of an exhausting ride though. The solo on Year of the Truck, for example, could have easily been cut in half. It starts out decent, but it just kind of keeps on keeping on well past what it is trying to accomplish. This can actually be said about the majority of the solos on the album, and while there is some decent and fun shredding to be found throughout, they tend to meander and just last much longer than they should. Now, on the other hand, “Maybe You’re the One,” “Bulldozer,” and “Rock Hallelujah” have great solos: They come in, make their point, and exit accordingly (“Bulldozer” just ***ing shreds the whole way through, and the guitarist pulls it off nicely), and it’s just too bad this couldn’t have been accomplished a few more times among the others. Maybe a 'less is more' approach could be applied for the future to help weed out some of those unnecessary passages.
Even if they could have trimmed some fat in a few places, I will give the band credit for putting out a quality album that hits in just over an hour long and never lost my attention while listening. Maybe instead of some of the long winded solos, the guitars could have thrown in some more lead/rhythm action. They tend to play together most of the time and harmonize frequently, especially on the heavier songs, but rarely does one actually ‘take the lead’ over the other except for the soloing. “Drive,” however, is a nice exception to this with plenty of lead parts scattered about, but there are only a few other instances of this which are mostly just in the intros (“Rock Hallelujah” and “Maybe You’re the One” for example).
While the vocals are quite good, I do wish there was a more aggressive side to them. He does a fine job on the less heavy songs, but it feels like something is missing in the performance on the more aggressive tracks. I am not saying he should be trying to scream or anything, but he could use a little grit in his voice to further what the heavier songs are going for. There is a certain attitude that comes with the lyrics and music of the kind of dirty, heavy, southern rock style the band is going for, and the vocals are too plain and clean sounding to completely sell it.
While this may look overly critical so far, the pros do outweigh the cons here. Trucker Diablo is more than capable of rocking out and are even capable of slowing it down on a few songs. The guitars are heavy hitting and as I touched on earlier, they play some great harmonies together throughout the album. Whether they are putting the pedal to the floor or doing a little coasting, Trucker Diablo hits more than they miss on [url]Songs of Iron[/url].
With some tweaks to the songwriting and maybe a more aggressive vocal side on the heavier material, Trucker Diablo is fully capable of climbing their way to the top of the hard rock world. They are only on their second album and are already more interesting than many of their counterparts in the genre, so only time will tell if their current following will continue to grow and one day get them the attention they deserve.