Think of the biggest, most bad ass, pimped up pick up truck being driven 100mph by the meanest, dirtiest, thrill-seeking, denim-clad mo-fo around and you have a pretty clear idea of the awesome Monster Truck. The Canadian band steamroller everything in sight with their latest album Sittin' Heavy. It's ballsy, revved up and explosive, everything a terrific rock album should be. It's injected with plenty of vintage sounds, crossover influences and turbocharged with a roaring engine of grungy guitars, filthy licks, growling vocals and sexy melodies making this follow-up album is a juggernaut of hard rock joy!
The big monster album opener Why Are You Not Rocking? demonstrates that the Ontario-based foursome mean business and are prepared to step up to the big time. As with much of the album it's forceful, aggressive and reaking of machismo. Don't Tell Me How To Live is an elegantly defiant track, it's like listening to a choreographed drunken saloon bar brawl; Jon Harvey's soaring vocals shatter like beer bottles on the sawdust floor, Jeremy Widerman's guitar work and Steve Kiely's drums are every throw and punch, whilst Brandon Bliss' subtle organ playing demands that the bartender pours another whisky. The track was inspired by Harvey's girlfriend who commented that he was spending too much time playing his guitar, to which he valiantly responded 'that's my job, don't tell me how to live.' For The People continues the feisty musical tone with a Lynyrd Skynard southern style backdrop.
Produced by the hugely talented Eric Ratz the new album is drawing from their previous influences but succeeds in ensuring this album is absolutely individual. Yes, it's rooted in hard rock but there are the emotional slower songs too for all the sensitive rockers out there, Black Forest is one such song. It has an early Led Zeppelin feel, (think Baby I'm Gonna Leave You) as Harvey sings with about challenging the black dog. It's emotionally heartfelt and when Harvey mournful lines such as “everyone I love has slowly been taken away,” you can't help but feel utterly helpless. It's almost as if the track is a partner to the opener which contains the lines “rock n roll might save your life, might save your life tonight.” Heavy stuff.
The themes of resilience and determination run through this album with powerhouse tracks like The Enforcer and the outlaw road track New Soul, both filled with Truck's pummelling sludge sound. Enjoy The time sees Bliss take the lead with a welcome mellow sound, however, the track itself is something of a paradox; musically the track lulls you into a false sense of security, but the real meaning is far from the saccharine security that the upbeat melody would have you believe.“Enjoy the times we have before they're gone away,” the sentiment to make the most of the good things before the shit flies, certainly puts things in perspective and Harvey expresses the message with utmost sincerity.
Sittin' Heavy is certainly a thought provoking piece of work for the band, there is certainly nothing frivolous here. It's brutal at times, yet inspiring and proof that Monster Truck are a band that want to be taken seriously, with this release they have more than made the grade - If there's one lesson to be learnt, don't fuck with the truck.