3.5 out of 5 Stars!
Shooting Hemlock, a little-known band out of Boston, eventually came to my attention based on the presence of guitarist Joe Stump (Reign of Terror/HolyHell) as well as singer/guitarist Brian Troch, a former member of a defunct Chicago group I used to know and see play on a regular basis. Although Shooting Hemlock released its debut album in the late ’90s, then seemingly disappeared, the band’s sophomore collection, Big Green Monster, suddenly popped onto the scene more than a dozen years later, and this is the release I finally tracked down several years ago.
To my ears, Big Green Monster is a rollicking, down ‘n’ dirty collection that often brings to mind a sort of “Tesla meets Soundgarden meets Anthrax” sound/style. Most of the twelve tracks, including “Minutes in the Sun,” “Whitewash,” “Brain Candy,” “Death & Taxes,” and “Payback,” offer up extremely raw and grungy Heavy Metal, typically loaded with a rebellious atmosphere and an almost Stoner-Metal or Heavy-Psych delivery (the latter never more apparent than on the band’s cover of Black Sabbath’s “Electric Funeral”). On the other hand, the tunes “Clockwatcher” and “Ride the Rusty Rig” are laid-back ballads that show another, more sensitive side to the group, and oddly enough, ended up being two of my favorite tracks.
Generally speaking, the material on this release delivers little in the way of innovation, but is rather perfect for when you need a good morning jolt or are in the mood for something loud, fun, and raunchy just to piss off the annoying neighbors. In other words, turn the volume up to eleven, bang your head, and let the Big Green Monster shake the rafters!