The guys in Tombstone Highway have figured out a truth that has eluded most of us: heavy metal is improved with the addition of banjo. “Old Blood”, the opening track from the band’s debut full-length, Ruralizer, opens with a satisfying squall of distorted guitar and thrumming rhythms, along with…something else. It’s not till a few bars in that the listener realizes, yep, that’s a banjo plucking away in the mix. It sounds fantastic.
That’s not even the weirdest thing: the weirdest thing is that Tombstone Highway is a band from Italy, meaning that the musicians are, y’know, Italian—even though play a southern-fried version of metal that sounds like Lynyrd Skynyrd on a lot of steroids. The tunes are straight-ahead, full-bore metal—nothing too subtle or flashy, with plenty of power chords and six-string wankery—but the southern flavor lends a bit of off-kilter charm to what could be otherwise forgettable compositions. Emphasis is on uptempo, high-energy songs, with only occasional slower tunes like “At the Bitter End” and the epically sinister, seven-minute “Graveyard Blues” to lend variety. The performances are adequate and sometimes inspired. Ironically, the weakest link is the regrettably lame cover of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”, a barn-burner of a song that ends up getting the generic hard-rock treatment. Other than that, this is a strong set of tunes. Viva Italia!
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// Sound Affects
"The man whose songs were recorded by Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, David Allan Coe, The Highwaymen, and countless others succumbs to time’s cruel cue that the only token of permanence we have to offer are the effects of shared moments and memories.READ the article