Style: Southern Rock
Release Date: 1 Jan 2020
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube
Any rock/metal band name that starts with Motor, with or without an umlaut, is automatically going to stir up expectations of being a Motörhead tribute band but that doesn't help Motorbooze, who aren't remotely that. Sure, they clearly like Motörhead and there's a little Motörhead in their sound, but I wouldn't even call it their primary influence. Juan Della Ceca doesn't drum remotely like Philthy or Mikkey and Scorpion Shaw doesn't try to sound like Lemmy at all.
What they sound like is a southern rock band, which is rather appropriate as they hail from Buenos Aires in Argentina, which is rather further south than most southern rock bands! They have a heavy edge, so they're flirting with a southern metal tag constantly but I'd place them more on the rock side of an ever hard to define boundary between rock and metal, even though there's not much Allman Brothers or Lynyrd Skynyrd here. Think heavier than Black Stone Cherry but not so far down that scale to reach the likes of Exhorder.
While this, their debut album, starts out well enough, I actually think that it gets better as it goes along. Blood kicks things off nicely and it finds a nice groove, but it tries far too hard and there's so much staccato guitar that it lost me a few times. Obliterator plays in a similar vein but it kept me throughout because it stayed in the groove that it found. That it's also an aching groove helps too. It could easily be faster but it doesn't need to be and I appreciate the band fighting the urge.
As the album runs on, I found that those grooves get more engaging. From the relatively simple one midway through Roussian Roulette to the delightful and much deeper groove that pervades Blackmoon Shadows, the band comes across as particularly comfortable on these later songs, as if they were attempting to deliberately push the envelope on earlier, more overt songs and just settled down to what felt most comfortable to them later.
The boundary may be Motherfucking Song, which kind of does both. I love the more restrained solo midway through but I also love how punchy the song gets behind it. All the guitars, whether bass, lead or rhythm, are provided by a man named Sebastián Taux and he does a lot on this song, once the Al Pacino sample that opens it up gives way to the music.
As much as I enjoyed the work of his cohorts in Motorbooze too, I think Taux is what I'll take away most from this album. Shaw steals the limelight from the outset but Taux slowly but surely steals it away from him with a steady succession of solid riffs and elegant solos. I say slowly but surely because he doesn't really do anything flash at any point, so it takes a little while to realise just how good he is. By the time we get to the end of Mindset of Destruction, we realise it even as we acknowledge that it seems effortless for him. The final blitzkrieg is just a bonus.
I should also highlight Chaos Maker, which closes out the album. Everything here runs pretty consistently around four minutes, with Blackmoon Shadows a minute longer than anything else. Then there's Chaos Maker, which is a nine minute epic to wrap things up. And it does feel epic, as if the band took a look at all the things they did on this album and made extra sure to do them all double on this one last track. Somehow, it isn't overdone and the band sound all the better for being let loose like this. I liked it a great deal.
While the name is likely to continue to be misleading and I have no idea at all what the cover art is supposed to be telling us, this is a strong debut for Motorbooze and a solid recommendation for any who prefer their southern rock with a bit of crunch.