The Blackfire Revelation
Gold and Guns on 51
I did a couple web lookups to make sure I understood the meaning of the word "juggernaut." I didn't want this to be one of those public places where I learn I've been using a word wrong all these years, like when someone dressed me down on the proper use of "erstwhile" (it means "former" and not "otherwise") . So OK, juggernaut, a bastardization of the Sanscrit Jagann?¢tha, the "lord of the world," an unstoppable force coming at you. Its been applied by the British to mean a large truck according to the oracle of Google, and an enemy of the x-Men, but where I've heard it used the most is being applied to the Big Three of heavy music: Black Sabbath, MC5, The Stooges, all common Juggernauts in the public vernacular. All cutting a swath through unsuspecting listeners, exiting rooms through a giant man-shaped hole in the wall, destroying everything in a gleeful display of raw power. Its not the music I always go to, but when you need that steamroller of heavy heavy music to straighten out the kinks, its the best thing there is.
The latest hammer of the gods to come down heavy on me is New Orleans' own Blackfire Revelation, a dynamic duo like all them other rock duos out there, except that they kick uncharted hectares of ass on their debut EP Gold and Guns on 51. Like The Black Keys, they dig into the loamy soil of the blues, stoner 70's rock, punk and metal to concoct their massive sound. Battle Hymn storms the castle with straight outta the MC5 archives "Ladies and Gentlemen" and a classic killer riff Wayne Kramer himself would've been proud of. 'Act Like a Believer" comes on like a bell tolling from the bowels of the earth accompanied by the slinkiest of grooves and distorted holler of guitarist/singer J.R. Fields, who sharpened his rock and roll teeth on every touring act coming through Tokyo where he spent much of his youth, who can simultaneously deliver a Paranoid- era slab of bedrock and deliver a funky acid tinged strafing run like the the haziest angel dust phase of Funkadelic. Drummer Hank Haney basically left college and moved to New Orleans on a dare (the best way to end up there, IMO) and the two fell into orbit around the sound they created.
The cover of Troggs' "I Want You Right Now" is infinitely more lethal than the original, sounding completely in step with their own particular take on psychedelic rock. "Preach to the Choir" creaks and whines like the gate to the cosmos was left hanging open, swaying and clamoring in the breeze of destiny, sounding all the world like a lost dirge offa the Stooges' Fun House. I don't mean to imply that these guys are mere style apers, but the similarities to the Big Three aforementioned bands is unmissable, The Blue Cheer cover "Second Time Around" which closes this all-to-short EP really shows their roots, where the boys from the Dirty South conjure up veritable demons in the guitar solo toward the end. The brevity of this EP is the only conceivable complaint I could have here, because this is some magnificent powerful stuff. Perhaps the people at Southern reconstruction were concerned that they would actually destroy the earth with their sonic juggernautics, but really I can't think of a better way to go out.
Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com