MONSTER TRUCK – True Rockers (2018)
18 months after their breakthrough debut CD featured here, Canadian rockers MONSTER TRUCK are back with “True Rockers”, their new effort to be released next Friday 14. An album with a built in mission to reconfirm their hard rocking credentials, while adding extra sonic color and varied song styles to their high energy output.
And they do with a mix of anthemic choruses, hot guitar riffs, boogie and bluesy influence, some double time rhythms, booming hooks and a frenetic approach that borders on the manic. Jon Harvey’s vocal are truly stellar, while the band’s accompanying harmony vocals remain an integral part of a portentous wall of sound.
They open with Jeremy Wilderman (guitar, backing vocals) exclamatory opening yell on the thematic ‘True Rocker’ (in the singular), which sounds rebellious. It hurriedly shifts towards an ’80s hair metal chanted hook and an on-message rap from special guest Dee Snider to hammer home the fact that they are here to rock.
The following ‘Thunderstruck’ features a significant Deep Purple influence with Brandon Bliss’ John Lord style Hammond organ bursts, alongside big harmonies and a piercing guitar line on an up tempo rocker.
The opening brace of die-hard rockers serve to counterbalance the more commercial feel of some of their newer songs.
The band’s first album ‘Sittin’ Heavy’ made it mark by restating the core rock principals that you need to take a leap of faith, jump off that cliff and feel the void, which is precisely what they do on track like the gut busting ‘Evolution’.
There’s an undeniable commercial and electro feel to this track, with its stuttering drum sound and processed vocals on the pre-chorus, before a catchy hook which in anyone else’s hands could have been overburdening, but they immerse Harvey’s booming vocal in a wall of sound to great effect.
There a similar straight-to-the-vein hook on ‘Young City Hearts’, as a pulsating keyboard riff melds with an anthemic line: “We are young, wild and free.” The latter could easily have come from the Rod Stewart songbook, but it’s wrenched from any semblance of complacency by a blistering drums, call and response vocals and significant background vocals.
The band revels on the exaggerated count-in of ‘Being Cool Is Over’, a high octane rocker well suited to their exuberant style. It’s a ripping track with big drums, potent riffs, and call and response parts plenty of intensity.
The band impressively channels its huge energy surges into new areas to retain their power, freshness, and vitality. Monster Truck will probably be judged by their diversions into a bluesier ZZ Top influenced full tilt boogie of ‘Devil Don’t Care’ with its fuzz guitar and blues harp wail. But the impressive harmonies and dual guitars give the track the kind of dynamic that made their ‘Sittin’ Heavy’ such a great album.
Then there’s also the surprisingly bluesy intro to ‘Undone’, but soon is doninated by buzz guitars and backed by ever present harmony vocals over a deep bass line.
‘Hurricane’ is slamming as you like and brims with a rare energy, and it all ends in a rather more subdued reflective, slow building fashion, but the blues overtones of “Howlin’” are topped by a wonderful solo from Jeremy Widerman and are a brilliant example of the light and shade that Monster Truck are capable of.
In fact, there is nothing they’re not capable of, they’ve already proved that, but “True Rockers” is a statement they needed to make – and they’ve made it for sure.
The focused riff driven energy, soaring melodies, big fat harmonies and booming hooks on strong material means they rock as hard as any contenders for the crown of best up and coming classic / hard rock band of the moment.
01 – True Rocker
02 – Thundertruck
03 – Evolution
04 – Devil Don’t Care
05 – Being Cool is Over
06 – Young City Hearts
07 – Undone
08 – In My Own World
09 – Denim Danger
10 – Hurricane
11 – The Howlin’
Jon Harvey – Lead Vocals, Bass
Brandon Bliss – Keys and Vocals
Steve Kiely – Drums and Vocals
Jeremy Widerman – Guitar and Vocals