I Am the Intimidator
I Am the Intimidator

There’s a saying in my part of the good ol’ USA. “Raise hell, praise Dale!” I’m certain it’s used countrywide, but I believe my area, particularly a couple hours away from where I was born, probably has a trademark on it. I’m certain there’s no question it’s regarding Dale Earnhardt, or “The Intimidator.” Decals on brand-new vehicles abound in that area. Flags still billow in the wind, and he’s an idol if not an icon. Yes, this is a long introduction, but merited, especially because my former brother-in-law, the biggest Dale Earnhardt fan, and in fact the man who told me Dale passed away, just passed away himself. In some way, this review is going to be a tribute, despite the fact he never would have listened to this style of music.

That style is metal. Speed metal? 80s metal? Regarding the album itself, it’s a concept album about the man’s last day on Earth. The intro, which includes multiple quotes from the man himself, does set them album up perfectly. The first real track, if one wishes to call it, “Gasoline,” is a scorcher. With a NWOBHM riff to open, then some unexpected falsettos, I already knew this wasn’t going to be what I expected. If “better pump the gasoline, motherfucker” isn’t in your head afterward, I envy you. It hasn’t left mine since the first listen. The vocals on this track (and the rest of the album) are nothing short of excellent.

I’m not intending to go too far into the NASCAR concept, but if “Gasoline” was when the engines started, “Eat My Smoke” is the beginning of the race. Although, if you know the full story, “Eat My Smoke” has multiple meanings. Included are death growls along with some falsettos and excellent, yet gruff cleans. What also needs mentioning is the excellent guitar playing on display throughout.

After two absolute bangers to begin, the title track, “I Am the Intimidator comes in at track 4. It’s at this point where the tracks become more expansive (read: longer). This one’s in that NWOBHM category. Around 3 minutes in, it’s quiet and you get to hear the bass rumble, along with some “whoa-ohs,” which seem to be the ingredient for a hit these days.

Skipping ahead to the final track, “Crying from the Abyss,” which of course is also the end of the road for our protagonist. The track is over 6 minutes, just like the previous two, and is a fitting end. The guitar playing and solos, coupled with prolonged instrumental sections, give this a palpable conclusion to an excellent album, which is more than likely a one-off.

If you couldn’t tell, I really dig this. It’s an unexpected early 2024 gem. I was prepared for a grindcore release but then gazed at the length of the album. It’s only around 30 minutes, but with 6 tracks, it’s not going to be in that realm. I grew up in the country and was a NASCAR fan. It’s just in the blood. Although I was never a fan of The Intimidator, I respected his story, especially since he seemed to be a kind man who judged no one and bled for the sport. If you aren’t sure, check out the quotes in the intro. It’s unfortunate his life and career came to an end in such a tragic way, but he’s certainly remembered fondly. Even if you’re not familiar, or don’t even care to be, I highly recommend checking this out. On top of this, I want to end by saying RIP to the man mentioned in the beginning, Art. You were a kind soul.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
March 20th, 2024

Comments

  1. Commented by: Miserable Pyre

    Raise Hell, Praise Art!

    Thank you, J.


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