May 10, 2007

It was a pleasant surprise to pop in Hee Haw Hell and discover that it’s a concept album based on Dante’s Inferno. It doesn’t really sound twangy enough to be cow punk, and it’s not really any kind of “abilly.” Instead, this sounds like southern rock-infused punkage. Songs like “Southern Rain” and “MOAF” could probably even make it onto modern country radio if it wasn’t for the odd lyrical twists and the bit of extra aggressiveness which prevent it from fitting in with the rest of the extra-polished shit kickery on the air. One of the quirks that really make this record is the spoken “cantos” between all the songs that describe the narrator’s descent into Hee Haw Hell. This version of Hades is far less concerned with Italian political intrigues than Dante’s original version, and instead sounds like Deliverance smashing into the Grand Ole Opry. This sets the mood for my favorite track, “Chariots of Hellfire” which is a reworked version of “Chariots of Fire” providing the background music for a raging sermon from the right reverend Beelzebubba (Mojo Nixon). If that bit of witnessing don’t save your soul and get you to recant your pig porking ways, then you truly are a lost cause. Also, I applaud the punkified cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow,” which makes me want to watch O’ Brother Where Art Thou for the sixth or seventh time.

 –Adrian (Alternative Tentacles)