As Descendants of Crom approaches not far off in the distance I can hear a rumble and see a fog descending. It’s a rumble that shakes the earth beneath my feet and has an unsettling vibe about it. It’s a dark fog that smells of whiskey and cheap cigarettes; thick and dense with a whole lot of attitude….and my friends I’m here to say that disturbance of the senses is Baltimore stoner rock outfit Foghound with their album “Awaken to Destroy”.
Foghound have been around a minute and their creature of an album “Awake and Destroy” more than proves it. The band are a wrecking ball of piss and vinegar laced with punk rock attitude and southern fried charm. We’ve heard it all before, but damn these guys really know how to get the blood pumping and whiskey flowing with their brand of “no holds barred” rock n’ roll. Imagine the modern rock of Black Water Rising steeped in the more upbeat moments of Black Label Society while Molly Hatchet is blaring on the radio. It’s a somewhat modern touch on a somewhat dated sound, but damn is it catchy and fun. The drums groove or fire away in an almost punk-like fashion at times, the bass ripping and roaring like a 10 ton brick while the guitars fire off catchy pentatonic riffs. The vocals yarl and croon away in a mischievous fashion very similar to Zakk Wylde or a younger version of the late Lemmy Killmister. The band toe the line of balance on the album, the first half of the album storming through the gates like a dragster going down the quarter mile while the latter half slows things down and implements some welcome dynamic and melody. Production is dirty, but crisp and clean with a bite that hooks into the listener and drags them along for the ride.
While the album is punishing front to back, you would be hard pressed to find two tracks such as “In Due Time” and “Cut the Cord” that rock your socks off as hard as they do. “In Due Time” struts and swaggers with dense palm muted start-stop riffage that bludgeons the listener in precarious fashion. Excellent gritty and howled vocals make their appearance to get the blood pumping as Godsmack esque leads shred away. The track is a little long winded, but worth the aural assault. On “Cut the Cord” we see the band at their most volatile, rocking out and firing away as if their life depended on it. Very punk in nature and big with attitude, this track could have been easily been a B-side from a Motorhead album with its keen sense of edgy metallic punk and blitzkrieg speed, only allowing the listener to come up for air during a brief slow down at the halfway point. On the back half of the album we see two tracks where the band tone it down in a sonic shift and allow melody to briefly shine. “Stare Down the Demons” is a somber tune that sways with its tremolo tinged guitars that pick the heart strings as the vocals croon somberly. The chorus is possibly one of the best on the album, with its strained and yelped vocals that drip rich with raw emotion. To be honest I can’t get enough of it, as I wish we had seen more of these melodic sensibilities throughout the album. Closing track “Death Will Tremble” is a melancholy affair, with its eerie, almost whispered vocals and droned instrumentation. Definitely one of the more experimental cuts on the album, but haunting in its delivery. Excellent use of lead guitars that swell with rock-a-billy attitude at times and trippy, acid rock fortitude in others; making way for quite the sonic assault that brings the album to a close.
Overall Foghound have crafted quite the slab of dense rock n’ roll here. Awaken to Destroy doesn’t go far off the beaten path, but shows enough shifts in dynamic to create some real staying power with the songs on the album. Be sure to catch these guys this upcoming weekend at Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If this album is a sign of anything, be prepared to have your socks rocked off……….