Riverbottom Nitemare Band
The Way It Is, Same As the Way It Was
Sometimes a first glance at a product can prove misleading, whether it’s a calculated move by its creator to steer us wrong or just the result of bad marketing. Fortunately, Riverbottom Nitemare Band do us humble consumers a huge favor by adorning the cover of their new album, The Way It Is, Same As The Way It Was, with a sticker-clad, ornery-looking SG guitar and a tattoo-sleeved arm. One look and you can be reasonably sure there’s no flute solos or soul-baring falsetto singing going on in there. You would be correct. Subtlety is not in the game plan here, just rubber-meets-the-road punk/metal/rock that fondly recalls the mid-period era of Black Flag, when hardcore gunpowder met the spark of metal and blew minds like a tough-ass, Mohawk-wearing Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
A sludgy, Sabbath-worthy riff opens “Riverbottom Nitemare,” which quickly busts open to reveal the punk sensibilities of the band. And hey, when you have the hubris to write your own theme song (or is it maybe the theme from Jim Henson’s Emmit Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, the film from which these guys take their name), you’d better be able to deliver the goods. This one does, in straight-ahead, steamrolling fashion – and adds a kick-ass stadium-style ending, no less. Thus the tone is set. “Murder On the Airwaves” greets the ear with machine-gun riffs spraying out of your speakers, as the song’s breakneck rhythm carries it along. Heavy guitars and pummeling drums – what more could you want from your hard rock? The tune then notches up to an even more frantic tempo before ending abruptly. “Supertough” is just that: a sonic punch in the nose. This number rumbles along like an over-caffeinated rhino running downhill. Toward you. Cool.
RNB’s Myspace page (myspace.com/riverbottomnitemareband) lists influences ranging from Fear to the Melvins to Hank Williams Sr. and III (any true punk rocker worth his/her salt knows the mojo skipped a generation). A little bit of the latter shows up during “If Only This Nite,” which offers some nearly crooned vocals amongst the driving tempo and stinging lead guitar. Of course, the modus operandi tends more toward an aggressive howl on most of this album, “Pretty Face” being the defining example. While the band gallops along, vocalist/guitarist/principal songwriter Pete Dio screeches lines like, “Think twiiiiiiice!” as his head presumably melts clean off of his neck. The majority of the disc is chock-full of incessant, elemental hard rock/punk, and it benefits greatly from its production (it was recorded locally at Off The Cuff Sound). The Way It Is, Same As The Way It Was is the way it should be. Or something like that. (D.M. Jones)
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