Bourbon Flame
Bourbon Flame

If it were 1988, these guys would probably be in luck. I’m sure some major label would snap them up, throw a little makeup and hairspray on them and give them a big push. Unfortunately, 20 years later, this brand of hard rock is a little bit tougher sell.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t hair band stuff, but rather its grimier, uglier cousin, and this record certainly has its moments. Among the nine songs here, these Norwegians kick out a fairly potent, down and dirty American style of hard rock, and they establish themselves early with the undeniable groove of album opener “Six Feet Under.” If there’s one thing Bourbon Flame has a knack for, it’s grooves and hooks. After a rough punkish start that seems to be going nowhere, the huge groove of “Rooster in a Henhouse” will win you over. Likewise, one listen and the hooks of “Rock Vice” and “Got What It Takes” will be stuck in your head for days, then the chainsaw rock of “Get Liquored” will rip it off.

The record also takes some nice turns at bluesy  and dramatic with “High on the Bourbon Flame” and the slow, nasty groove of “Midwest Punk,” which is oddly the least punk-influenced number on the record.

There are some consistency issues on the record. Several of the songs are OK at the time, but not very memorable at the end of the day. Vocalist Janto, for the most part, really doesn’t do it for me. He uses this punky, part scream thing that sometimes sounds a little out of place and almost grating at times. In fact, it’s interesting that “Rock Vice” reminds me so much of Dangerous Toys’ “Teas’n, Pleas’n,” because a vocalist like Jason McMaster would really put this record over the top. 

Janto’s vocals, though, aren’t a deal-breaker and his bass is certainly an important part of that groove with drummer Erik. Guitarist T. Ringstad definitely has the licks, and this is an intriguing debut for hard rock fans. They’ve got the tools, and I’d love to see what they could do with a slightly better production. Bourbon Flame’s definitely a band for hard rock lovers to keep an eye on.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
October 28th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dan

    Something weird is going on over in Scandinavia. Hard rock/Glam bands are popping up like mushrooms. Not a trend I look forward to.


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