Saturday, 7 February 2015

Killer Boogie - Detroit

Put your hands up for Detroit! Italian fuzz-rockers tribute to Rock City.

Detroit has long been recognized as the spiritual home for all things gritty, dirty and deranged in rock 'n' roll. Ever since The Stooges and MC5 burst on the the global scene after formulating their sounds in the Motor City there's been a steady stream of bands in their wake carrying on that legacy. From Alice Cooper to The Gories, Suzi Quattro to The White Stripes, they've all shared a love for stripped-to-the-bone hard rock delivered with humour and intelligence. Ditto Killer Boogie, whose blues-rock roots are souped up like a custom muscle car.

Killer Boogie don't hail from Detroit but they would make good adopted sons. Instead they hail from Rome, a city more renowned for its Colosseum and Sistene Chapel than it is for hard riffing rock music. The three-piece band are something of a supergroup, featuring Gabriele Fiori on guitars and vocals (Black Rainbows), Luigi Costanzo on drums (The Wisdoom), and Matteo Marini on bass (though Eduardo Mancini played bass on these studio recordings.)

This cross fertilization of bands from the Heavy Psych Sounds roster results in an album that fits perfectly with the label's ethos and aesthetic. HPS is already a label with a strongly defined identity, one that this record reinforces via its proto-grunge and metal. Detroit may be a record of very fixed genre but that's most certainly the point. After all, you don't go to a pizzeria and ask for sushi! So expect some hard rock with a distinctly early '70s hue.

Much like the almost fabled city of the album's title, the record's spirit is one of rebellion, fused with a separateness from the wider musical world. Economically Detroit has been on the decline since its car producing heyday, a city that's both proud and haunted by its golden era. Similarly rock music's purple patch is commonly thought to be the early '70s, so it's in some way fitting that Killer Boogie echo those classic sounds.

That era saw the beginning of rock's love affair with guitar pedals, when pushing the limits of volume, speed and virtuosity was at the forefront of most denim clad musician's minds. Detroit shares all those fascinations and then some. Busy guitar solos and fuzzed-up riffs abound. It says much about the state of contemporary music when such sonic time travel can reward more than today's state of the art releases.

No wonder then that each new generation eventually discovers the music made by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy et al. Thank goodness there's a new breed of contemporary bands making music that carries a similarly heavy punch. Hats off to Killer Boogie and Heavy Psych Sounds for flying the flag for all things heavy!

Click here for more on Killer Boogie.
Click here for Heavy Psych Sounds.

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