Monster Truck are probably one of the most appropriately named bands around. Their sound is the size of their name-sake with their massive riffs and their sophomore album only adds credence to the fact. I mean, they’ve got “heavy” in the title. Sittin’ Heavy is the hard rock album you didn’t know you were waiting for.
Honing their chops on the road with Slash, Rival Sons, ZZ Top and Buckcherry and a co-headlining UK tour in 2014 entitled “Lords of the Riff” with Scorpion Child, they’ve spent their time in good company. Alongside that, they’ve had some ringing endorsements from Slash himself and Mike Inez of Alice in Chains. But no matter where he is, it’s Dee Snider who puts it best:
Holy fuck, this band rocks.
This Canadian four-piece doesn’t do things by halves. The accompanying video for lead single “Don’t Tell Me How to Live” is filmed during a snowstorm…on a fucking oil rig! And as the title suggests, it’s an ode to living your life on your own terms and with lyrics like “I got the heart of a lion, And I get stronger every day”; it’s a defiant, chest-pounding one. It’s a theme which crops up several times on the album with the funky, soulful “For the People” and “Enjoy the Time”, the latter track very much a “does what it says on the tin” job.
Meanwhile with opener “Why Are You Not Rocking?” is the best call-to-arms about submitting yourself to music and ignoring the world around you since Bonafide’s “Fill Your Head With Rock”. Both songs hold the same message but Monster Truck do it with their trademark punchy riffs which hit you with the force of…um, a monster truck. It sets the ball rolling well with an equal parts sludge and grunge riff, their sights set on making their statement that bigger is better.
Songs like “Another Man’s Shoes” and “The Enforcer” show off Jeremy Widerman’s guitar skills to their full extent. He delivers riffs the size of Gene Simmons’ ego but far more listener-friendly. For “The Enforcer”, search on YouTube for the footage of the Red Road Flats’ demolition. But imagine it was done old-school with a wrecking ball. If it’s still not clear; this album is awesome.
However, Sittin’ Heavy isn’t full to the brim of gut-punching hard rock. With songs like “Black Forest” and the afore-mentioned “Enjoy the Time”, the band take things in a more soulful, bluesy direction with vocalist Jon Harvey crooning and growling in equal measure, twisting his voice into shades of Robert Plant as he hits the higher notes. It’s a bit out of their comfort zone but they handle it with the same grace as their bread and butter.
Drums come in the form of Steve Kiely and they thunder throughout, hooking in expertly with Harvey’s rich bass grooves. There’s something almost Bonham-esque in the way he hammers at his kit, knowing he doesn’t have to work hard to get you headbanging.
Monster Tuck have always had a great polish, the four of them making one hell of a cohesive band but there’s a definite sense of the band taking things up a notch. Playing with some great bands will rub off on you like that. They’ve managed to retain their unique identity but managed to step out from their corner and stretch their legs a bit. The more sludgy element has been diluted down and makes it a little more radio-friendly but the boogie and groove is still ever-present. And of course, it’s heavy. Unapologetically so.
The only way I can surmise Sittin’ Heavy is this: buy this album. Monster Truck have mastered the formula of a follow-up; tighten up your performance whilst deftly walking the tightrope of sticking to what they know best while bringing something fresh to the table. It’ll please returning fans and it’s a great introduction for newcomers. Now, stop reading this and go support new music.
Sittin’ Heavy is released 19th February