Like a burly swamp monster, Alabama Thunderpussy creeps from the sludgy depths and suddenly lurches out in a blazing rage. It's a complicated monster, however, with a love of soft Southern rock ballads. Fulton Hill opens with a deceptively mellow instrumental called "Such Is Life," a four-and-a-half-minute extravaganza oozing a mystic '70s rock vibe. The next track, "R.R.C.C.," rips into a full-throttle metal song, laden with down-tuned, chunky guitar riffs. Johnny Weils shines and ebbs as ATP's new singer -- sometimes he sounds as if he's coming out of the speaker to gnaw your face off, and sometimes he sounds like Jon Bon Jovi. But he's perfect for ATP's bipolar sound, a combination of rampant redneck rock and compelling country-singed ballads. And the band still shreds the strings, giving its usual nod to the influence of Thin Lizzy's twin guitar harmonies. Who knew that slide guitar solos could float so well over pounding percussion and death-metal growls?
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