Dezperadoz - 'Dead Man's Hand' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 12, 2012    
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Highly recommended.

Remember when Jon Bon Jovi used to think he was a cowboy so much so that he would go on to write the soundtrack to Young Guns II, the risible ‘Blaze Of Glory’? Well there are some tough new hombres in town called Dezperadoz who would blow Mr Bon Jovi clean away in a quick draw shoot out when it comes to cowboy influenced rock/metal. Their irresistible blend of groove metal, southern boogie, bluesy hard rock, bluegrass and even country that’s sprinkled with a liberal dose of Ennio Morricone pastiche truly stakes their claim as the kings of Spaghetti Western Metal!

It turns out that this is the fourth release from Dezperadoz and is the brainchild of Alex Kraft (Onkel Tom, Sodom). The band originally featured Sodom’s Tom Angelripper on vocals but Angelripper left the project after their debut album ‘Dawn Of the Dying’. Since then Kraft has been left to fly the (confederate) flag on his own aided and abetted by fellow guitarist Nils Stuerzer, bassist Alex Weigand and Markus Kullmann on drums. This album is inspired by the life and times of James Butler ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok. As any of you American historians may know, Hickok was famously shot in the back and killed during a poker game, when in possession of what has now become known as the ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ – black aces over eights.

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Quite simply ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ is an hour of pure entertainment that contains a diverse yet surprisingly cohesive set of tunes from detuned groove metal monsters such as ‘Under The Gun’, ‘Yippe Ya Yeah!’, ‘Saloon No 10’ and ‘Showdown’ (where Angelripper makes a welcome return on co-lead vocals) to atmospheric/brooding rockers in the form of The Cult like ‘Badlands’ that positively bristle with emotion. ‘Just Like Cowboyzz Do’ has a modern day Skynyrd feel to it whereas ‘Last Man Standing’ is a strident southern fried blues rocker of the highest order. ‘Bullet With My Name’ dips into blues grass territory with the added menace of a spinning revolver barrel as a percussion instrument! As you’d expect from the title ‘My Ol’ Rebel Heart’ is a full on country workout with banjos and lap steel aplenty set to a square dance bass rhythm. The sound of a steam locomotive then gives way to the best song on the album ‘Train Of Souls’ a rousing acoustic guitar driven behemoth featuring some classic Morricone guitar motifs before a poignant acoustic instrumental ‘Wild Horses’ closes the album proper.

Produced by Thomas Lichtenwalter and mixed by the inimitable Dennis Ward, ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ sounds like a million dollars (or shouldn’t that be a fistful of dollars?). Take it from me Dezperadoz are no gimmick. They are the real deal and a class act to boot. There is something for every discerning rock/metal fan to enjoy here and return to time and time again such is the stellar entertainment on offer. As such it is highly recommended!

Alister Strachan

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