With a name like Ace High Cutthroats, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to determine what the band is about. On their debut Black Fire, the group delivers rollicking rock with big guitars and a lot of swagger—keeping their rock’n’roll lifestyle close at heart underneath their black leather jackets. The band includes members of Nightgaun and Prosthetics, and the record is issued on their own label, Ace High, with handmade art on 100 copies.
Musically, forget their other projects. Ace High Cuttroats play r’n’r. The title track “Black Fire” gets things started with an eerie Sabbath riff that slowly builds, but after that first minute-and-a-half, the record is pure balls-to-the-wall rawk, built around big guitars and sleazy attitude and definitely fall on the hard rock side of the spectrum with metal flourishes. A number of the tracks here could be used in films as a getting-pumped-up about a big night kind of thing where “Kickstart My Heart” has become Hollywood’s go-to song. While there are thousands of comparisons that could be made, I found myself thinking somewhere along the lines of Lemmy fronting The Supersuckers. It’s driving, energetic rock with a number of vocal embellishments like “baby,” “yeah!” and “ow!” dropped in the lyrics, but it’s not full assault either. Comparing to Lemmy is certainly an overstatement, but D. Stuckey has a voice that’s equal parts rasp and singing, giving an earthy feel to the aural assault. It’s primal and aggressive, but contained (i.e. without indulgent solos). In between the guitar parts, C. Curry has an onslaught of impressive fills, well evidenced in the cut “Ace High.”
As a whole, the record is a bit flashy for my tastes, not being big on the whole dirty rock thing, but it’s a solid play start to finish. “Ace High” is the standout track on the record, with the aforementioned drumming and some greater variation to the vocal tones, which helps give a sense of melody to direct the non-stop energy the band puts forth. The guitars complement Stuckey’s voice and vice versa. Definitely its own band, Ace High Cutthroats’ primary audience should be fans of wild times, ringing eardrums, and timeless guitar.
6.0 / 10
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