“You are about to welcome into your community the filthiest people alive” so says the intro to “Road Rite” the tenth track on the second album by Canadian outfit The Death Wheelers called Divine Filth. They play instrumental music but incorporate clips from “B movies” (I assume the clips are genuine, I could stand corrected) at the start of some of the tracks. The bio suggests they are the bastard offspring of Motorhead and The Cramps and siblings to Dick Dale and I have to say that is a very fair and accurate reflection of what they sound like except for one thing, it doesn’t quite describe how utterly dirty, filthy and nasty the bass sound is! I remember seeing the reformed Cactus a few years ago and being impressed by how the bass sounded and this band have something similar going on. After listening to the album each time, I almost feel in need of a shower as it is that grubby. I cannot pay higher compliments to the bass sound than that. The whole band sound great with the drummer pounding away throwing in some sweet fills and guitars having such a solid base to soar over.
The album is conceptual inasmuch as this is supposed to be the soundtrack to (and I quote) “the fictional bikesploitation flick that never was”. The story concerns the town of Spurcity in 1982 which is rundown with soaring crime rates and a major drug problem. There is a new drug causing problems called “DTA” (also the name of track 3 which is subtitled “Suicycle Tendencies”) which leaves users rotting and in need of human flesh similar to zombies. Rumour has it the gang known as The Death Wheelers are behind it. So that is the story behind the music.
Although the music is obviously inspired by the artists previously mentioned they do play around in the format allowing other styles to be utilized whilst still sounding nasty. Opener “Welcome To Spurcity” sets the scene. A short piece with a Sabbath riff and a slightly disorientating solo before the sound of bikes roaring in. “Ditchfinder General” has moments of country twanging mixed with music that sounds like a chase scene in an old movie whilst still being metal. There are a number of changes of pace and style throughout this keeping you on edge throughout. The aforementioned “DTA” has to be slightly (at least) influenced at the start by The Shadows, perhaps something like “FBI” whilst having a surfer vibe for the most part. This is a track that some of the drum fills are very sweet, almost to counterbalance the melodies. Before the end, they unleash another slow Sabbathy riff.
“Let’s go to war, kill the motherfucker” are the opening words of title track “Divine Filth” which has some of the fastest guitar work befitting a piece about going to fight and kill. For such a speedy and heavy track it contains some fine grooves. “Lobotomobile” (their titles are rather inventive) sounds like music from a 1930s or 40s crime thriller, less threatening, more upbeat and slightly jaunty. At one point I was reminded of The Tornados and their track “Telstar“. The music really could easily fit into a Tarantino movie. “Murder Machines” has such a groove about it going from a frantic opening, into a Sabbath feel until it changes into something from a horror movie. Oh and some of the little flourishes of the drums here are exquisite. “Motorgasm” is all 1970s porn soundtrack (or so I am led to believe from folks who have watched them!) It does open with a lady telling a bloke not to come back until “your tongue grows another 6 inches” which fits the funky wah-wah guitaring vibe of the tune. This track could also have fit into any scene involving Huggy Bear in the 70s classic cop show Starsky And Hutch! (One for older readers there).
“Chopped Back To Life” mixes in some heavy Hawkwind spacey vibes in the second half to go with the Motorhead style groove ridden assault of the rest of it. Closer “Nitrus” is utterly frantic at the start, almost speed metal but drops into a surfer tune whenever they feel like doing so. They manage a quick drum solo as well probably just for the hell of it.
Got to love some filth:
Divine Filth is a rip-roaring fun listen and with it being to all intent and purposes an instrumental album would be great album for a party or a barbeque. The band are all on point and create a vibe that is very unusual for the rock and metal scene. The closest I suppose would be artists like Reverend Horton Heat and perhaps Jason And The Scorchers if they were metal acts. I love it and have found myself sticking it on whilst chilling in the evening. Highly recommended but very very dirty!
Out Friday September 11, 2020, on Riding Easy Records!
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