Album Review : Monster Truck- True Rockers (2018 Dine Alone Records exclusive splatter vinyl)

Monster Truck are back with a follow up to the amazing album Sittin’ Heavy (which I gave a 10/10). True Rockers is the name of the album and it suits the band perfectly. They are wonderfully representing the city of Hamilton, and all of Canada as the true rockers in 2018. I had high hopes for this album, and I sent out an email blast to some fellow rockers. I got an instant response that one fan may hold off on this album because he did not like the new single. I had not heard the single yet and wanted to hold off any judgement until I heard the entire album. Thankfully I did is all I can say. Now on to the review.

True Rocker (ft. Dee Snider) – I’m not sure if this is the first time Dee Snider has guested on a Canadian band’s album, but hopefully his inclusion alone will help sell records. The song starts off in sort of a fun-loving, goofy Sammy/Cabo sort of a vein but then morphs right into a hard rocker. A true rocker as it were. The guitar work is unlike any other Monster Truck song, then none other than Dee Snider sounds like the best rock n roll preacher to ever live. Great song to start this one off.

Thundertruck – Wonderful keys, guitars and drumming. This is a wonderful chant that may get as much stadium play as Thunderstruck. “All we want is a real metal ripper. All we want is to thrash our faces off like 1985.”

Evolution – This is the single that another rocker did not like. I get it. It has a Nickelback feel to it. Plus the song starts off with what sounds like electronic drums. Then there are the Adam Levine-like oooo’s. So basically this is a Maroon 5 meets Nickelback song that is trying to become the next crossover into the pop charts. Well maybe…and maybe not. This is the first song (of 3) that uses the production of Gavin Brown with the mixing from Eric Ratz. I respect these guys a ton,  and I will say I was still tapping along to this one. It’s not my favourite song by these lads, but it’s not like some of the filler songs on their earliest stuff either.

Devil Don’t Care – Back to the Monster Truck basics. In fact, this may be even going further back. It almost a mid 70’s Southern Rock feel to it. Mix in some sweet harp playing with some wicked guitar licks and this one smokes.

Being Cool Is Over – A fast, repetitive rocker that has a line that made me do one of those LOL things the hip kids are talking about. “I can’t change, you change, I like who I am. I must have missed the indie rock entrance exam.”

Young City Hearts – Funny enough, this song may actually be Monster Truck’s indie rock entrance exam. It has a bunch of elements of indie rock, plus a few the mid 80’s new wave. This is the 2nd song from Gavin Brown/Eric Ratz. It has elements of Arkells which make sense with Ratz’ involvement. Not that that’s a bad thing. I love Arkells. It just may take long time Monster Truck fans a few listens to adjust.

Undone – This song has a bit of Skynyrd in it. Some Whitesnake too. If David Coverdale was taken over by the spirit of Ronnie Van Zant in 1988, this song would have been the result. It has all of the elements of a slow burning rocker that the bands mentioned put out in their respective heydays.

In My Own World – The guitar work and chants have a bit of an Alice In Chains style. Although the keyboard work makes this one unique.

Denim Danger – I can see the Hamilton sports teams cranking this one out to fire the crowd up. “Whoa this is our town! In this place we wear the crowns! Whoa this is our town! It’s up to us to burn it down!” With that last line it should be popular in Montreal and Vancouver as well. Wait. What? “The corner is where we dive. Beers only run you five. Everyone knows we’re a tribe. Ready to feel alive. Everybody is here tonight. Dressed in clothes that fit real tight. If anyone tries to start a fight. Their future won’t be very bright.” Nope, definitely Hamilton.

Hurricane – The last of 3 songs with Brown/Ratz on board. This one has more of that old rockin’ Monster truck vibe. The drums sound a little Lars Ulriched for my liking, but the song is a good rocker. Now don’t be sad, ’cause one outta three ain’t bad (it kind of is).

The Howlin’ – Wow. This is a wicked song. It has Coverdale elements, sweet harp playing, wicked guitar playing, soft and tender moments and vocal wails. It is one of the best songs this band has ever released, and that says a lot. Wow.

Real hard for a band to follow up a 10/10 album with another perfect score. This one has some more experimentation. I think they followed the direction of the producer/mixer on the 3 tracks noted above, but those guys have a solid rep, so why not. The other 8 tracks were all produced by Dan Weller and mixed by Mike Fraser. They followed the if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it model and it seems to have worked. Perhaps if the band had done all 11 songs in the same style, some people would have criticized them for doing the same old thing. Who knows?

Not perfect, but really good