Beaten Back To Pure
The Burning South
posted on 11/2004 By:
Few albums are as aptly titled as Beaten Back to Pure’s The Burning South. Christ, these guys seethe with smoldering aggression and are southern enough to make The Black Crowes sound like Hatebreed. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that all five members of the band were conceived in the parking lot during the 1979 Molly Hatchet tour. Virginia’s Beaten Back to Pure continue in that tradition of defiant, proud redneck rock—it’s in their blood. Rarely will you hear a band that sound like such a perfect incarnation of their environment. Quite simply, these guys are the real deal, taking the southern stoner rock of Alabama Thunderpussy and combining it with the more aggressive sludge of bands like Down, Crowbar, and Eyehategod, and covering the amalgamation with a thick coat of palpable down home organic grime.
The Burning South is the band’s third release and their first for the fledgling Devil Doll label. Clocking in at 37 minutes, the album takes you on an “it’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” romp through the backwoods and sweaty nightspots of small town Dixie. A longer album may have felt like overkill for some listeners, but more than once I’ve played the album though only to restart it for a second spin.
The band tears out of the gate with the fat, fuzzy riffs of opener “American Vermin”, and by the time the vocals kick in you’re either too busy grooving to break stuff, or too busy breaking stuff to groove, but either response is appropriate. Ben Hogg’s vocals are one of the highlights of the album, ranging from a soulful southern sound to a moonshine and chewing tobacco garbled bark, and even some near death growling. He slips comfortably between the three, and seems to always have the right answer for the music. “Smothered in Sundress” (what a cool title) is the best bluesy southern metal since Down’s “Stone the Crow.” “Pillars of Tomorrow, Piles of Yesterday” is one of the more intriguing tracks on the album, opening with a monstrously heavy, forbidding riff before Hogg joins with a nearly moaned spoken word verse, in an almost redneck Tom Warrior on Into the Pandemonium fashion. This is one of the more introspective and darker moments on the album. The muscular instrumental “Vertigo” is an absolute smoker, and the loose groove of the aptly named “Running Out of Neck” is a powerful album closer.
The Burning South is an album that deserves attention. In a genre where grown men parade around in make up and costumes, Beaten Back to Pure’s homegrown earthiness is something to be savored. Pour yourself and glass of whiskey, crank up The Burning South, and have a seat on the porch.
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