Bursting from the speakers with wild abandon the new record - Hell and Back - from Kentucky’s Those Crosstown Rivals (TCR) hits you like a sucker punch to the jaw. An all out guitar driven assault on the listener’s ears these guys have delivered an album that demands to be listened to at high decibels. The music is fast and furious as Bryan Minks’ growling vocals spew out songs about kicking a**, playing music and making bad decisions.
The album opens with soulful keys before Minks informs us that the “devil is scratching at his soul”. Once the pleasantries have been dispensed with, that is when all hell breaks loose on "Hell and Back". Nick Walters’ vicious guitar, TJ Taylor’s pounding drums and Cory Hanks thumping bass supply the soundtrack to TCR’s round trip voyage into the abyss. As listeners join them on this voyage their music is equal parts Drive-By Truckers, Replacements and Motorhead. Check out “Be A Man”, built around Walters’ guitar licks, (like most of their tunes) it is a punk infused juggernaut about wrestling with making the right decisions. The soothing sounds of a pedal steel infiltrate “The Rain” giving it the right amount of twang and using rain as a relationship metaphor while “Blood, Sweat and Tears” harnesses classic southern rock flavors in a track about the trials of life. Anchoring the album is the blistering “Ugly Side”. Loaded with metal riffs and machine gun drumming they deliver a high octane number that is pure adrenaline.
From start to finish Hell and Back never quits. An all encompassing rocker, this album will wear you out. When the fuzzy guitars fade from your speakers and TCR has finished dragging you through their own personal bar fight you will be picking the glass out of your hair for weeks. Don’t be scared, man up and treat yourself to a mighty fine collection of songs.