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Saturday, May 02, 2009

CD Review: Robot Lords of Tokyo - Whiskey, Blood & Napalm

Robot Lords of Tokyo - Whiskey, Blood & Napalm
2008 Robot Lords of Tokyo
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

There's something groovy about a meeting point ideologically between Black Sabbath, Clutch and Monster Magnet, particularly since the latter two are perhaps the bastard boogie-woogie-afflicted stepchildren of the former. Add in the occasional meet-and-greet with vintage Kiss and Skynard plus a smackerel of classic Trouble and you have Columbus, Ohio's Robot Lords of Tokyo.

Robot Lords of Tokyo comprises the duo of Rick Ritzler and Paul Jones plus a generous bit of help from many friends including members past and present of Icarus Witch, Deflagration, Snowblynd, Magnitude and American Dog to name a few. This being the Robot Lords' second release, Whiskey, Blood & Napalm at times embodies the band namesake like s scrum in the skies between Mechagodzilla and Rodan while at others keeps its feet planted firmly on the crusty and sticky terra firma found in local dives where the floors are mopped once a week.

The mood changes of Whiskey, Blood & Napalm, is what keeps the album fresh, along with ass-loads of meaty guitar solos from Paul Jones and the Robot Lords' assorted fret guests. As "Bring it On Down" maneuvers from its core Southern rock feel into a wailing guitar fest, you've already been handed the Sabbath-splashed and Clutch-spliffed "The Mergatroid" and the punchy, fists-in-the-air rawk of "Princess of Hollywood."

Robot Lords of Tokyo fields a snazzy version of Kiss' "Larger Than Life," a song most bands attempting to cover Simmons and company largely ignore. Appropriate that Robot Lords of Tokyo select this tune when its dragged and distorted original cousin "Shadows and Blood" appears two songs before it.

This band may have to scrape their knuckles and knees to build their audience considering the competition ahead of them, but you can't argue with what Robot Lords of Tokyo brings to the table. A fair shake is similiar to what Corrosion of Conformity has hedged out of their hardcore days if you favor it. Whiskey, Blood & Napalm, is loud and occasionally rude ("Shakedown" and "Fear" being fine examples), which should win them a favorably boisterous rep in due time. The fact "Fear" is nasty in sound but spiritually lofty like King's X should lure them anumber of fans alone.

Rating: ****


JP said...

I liked the riffage but felt the guitar solos weren't really integrated well with the rest of the material on the first RLOT album...will be checking this out to see if they've worked on that.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I thought they were pretty spot-on and snug on this one

Swede said...

Great cd. One of my favorites of 2008. 'Bring It On Down' and 'Mergatroid' are my favorite tracks. I'm not much of 'metal head' but this is classic sounding metal done right. I'm honored to have RLoT be a part of the FatCat Festival of Rock August 8, 2009 in Wapakoneta, OH.