As most of you folks already know, I only rarely venture into the realms of Stoner and Sludge, as my ears keep telling me for a good reason. Why I still review “Fulton Hill”? Well, a certain Mr McKenna from Montreal thought that these Americans could be to my taste, so I closed in on the band.
So how do the loud kittens from Richmond, Virginia, sound? Well, they do not make it easy to pinpoint them onto a certain style, because depending on the song you listen to you get Stoner Rock, Sludge, Southern Rock or Doom Metal, partly also woven together. But one thing they all have in common: They are rough, earthy and powerful, (almost) with no exception.
Prior to the recordings for “Fulton Hill” ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY lost their singer Johnny Throckmorton, how his follow-up Johnny Weills (BARBED WIRE DOLLS) compares to him, I cannot say, but he definitely is variable. On the opening instrumental “Such Is Life” he is not even inaction yet, as here the melodic guitars of all kinds dominate, but on “R.R.C.C.” he barks into the mic that my ears almost fall off my head. And right away the fear wells up that I should not have listened to Mark.
But thankfully the rest of “Fulton Hill“ is more compatible to me, “Wage Slave“ with its strong groove and its KYUSS influences is followed by the at first relaxed, then a lot more energetic Southern Rocker “Three Stars”, complete with organ, just to let a sludgy Doom avalanche wash over me with “Bear Baiting”. Here Mr Weills shows his true variability, rough, but still melodic and with quite a some feeling.
“Infested“ then mixes almost all of the above, to follow it again with the melodic Doom of “Alone Again“. “Do Not” is then the most ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY untypical track, only consisting of acoustic guitars and very, very emotional vocals, a really intense track! And after “Sociopath Shitlist” (the title says it all), “Struggling For Balance” with its more than 13 minutes closes off the album alternating between Doom and mid-tempo, with lots of melody and groove, good one!
The guitars are tuned low, roundabout knee height, and with a lot of distortion, which gives the whole thing a very earthy/raw climate. So who likes it polished and bombastic will be ground into the dust of the desert by ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY that the teeth crunch. Only for experienced desert hounds! (Online September 7, 2004)