Big Wreck announced on their Facebook page that guitarist Brian Doherty has been fighting cancer for 9 months and it is now terminal. There is a Gofundme page for his family. For a tribute to him I thought I would review the lesser known 2nd album by the band. This album got less promotion, little fanfare and was the end of the original version of Big Wreck, as the band broke up shortly after it’s release. (When Ian & Brian re-formed the band in 2012, David Henning and Forrest Williams were not invited back)
Inhale – The only song I remember getting a sniff of airplay from this album. The music world had changed between In Loving Memory and this album. The Nickelbacks and NuMetal pan flashers had taken over. Both heavy and poppy at the same time. It has a driving beat and the guitars are smoothed over just a tiny bit to appease the masses. Still a very good song.
Undersold – Has a heavy Alice In Chains feel to it for the most part but I also get some early 90’s rap/rock bits thrown in. Wicked heavy guitar mixed with soft acoustic bits and cool harmonies.
Knee Deep – The guitar dominates this one, but the vocals and drums are pretty awesome.
Everything Is Fine – The song has a mix of trippy, almost sitar like Beatlesy psychedelia mixed with heavy grungy blues. Again, wonderful guitar and Ian’s voice is sublime.
All By Design – Has a Led Zep feel. Not enough for the Greta Van Fleet hate mongers to spew nonsense, but it is there. Brian was given music credits on the sleeve, so maybe he was the one that suggested to give the song a Zep feel. This song features backgound vocals by Daniel Greaves (Canadian band The Watchmen).
Mistake – This is one of the slower songs on the album, but the music is definitely heavy.
Ladylike – This one is an odd mix of what sounds like country banjo mixed with pounding bass and drums. Sometimes odd is good and when the amazing guitar gets mixed in we get great success. The solo here is wonderful.
The Pleasure And The Greed – The distorted guitar work accentuates a song that has the best of a number of mid 90’s alternative bands. Speaking of 90’s alternative bands, Daniel Greaves from The Watchmen is welcomed back here on background vocals.
No Fault – The first mellow song on the album. It has a bit of a Fool’s Overture(Supertramp) feel to it. Wait, I spoke too soon. It’s not mellow after the first minute.
Breakthrough – Wonderful slide guitar mixed with heavy ass riffs. How can I not love this one? Speaking of a breakthrough, this song also features background vocals by a pre-Alter Bridge/Slash gent named Myles Kennedy back when he was in a band called The Mayfield Four. This is an interesting note because both Myles and Ian Thornley were considered by Velvet Revolver for frontman at different times(Ian auditioned after Scott Weiland left but he would not be allowed to play guitar which was a deal breaker for him and Myles turned down an audition request before Scott joined the band because he was suffering from tinnitus and taking time off) and the 2 are now friends.
Ease My Mind – A bit more Zeppelenisque mixed with Scott Weiland meets ’40’s bluegrass. If you think you would like to hear this cool combo just as much as I do, proceed with ears wide open.
Broken Hands – This a some heavy mofo guitar playing. The broken hands likely sustained with power chords. Roughly in the last 1/3 of the song, the bass booms us into submission. Perhaps broken hands from trying to keep up the wall of sound.
Head In The Girl – TMI lads. No seriously, a driving beat that will have your head bobbing (In the girl?)
All Our Days Are Numbered – This one starts off like a metal song mixed with a country twanger. Then morphs with some sweet vocals and an amazing guitar solo.
West Virginia – This one begins off with the sweetest slide you’ve known since your days in the playground. It has chugging heavy guitar mixed with high pitched (but not to the point of being annoying) riffs. If this was what West Virginia was all about, I would visit more.
Defined By What We Steal – Ok. This is the first mellow song of the album. Although this one is not really that mellow, and it does get heavier part way though. It might be the weakest song here by a margin. I would have left this one off. It’s a shame that this song is the last one ever by the original band.
I went into this assuming that a 16 song album would be way too long. It would have way too much filler. I was wrong. It really is a solid, heavy album. Much heavier than anything Big Wreck has done before or since. 15/16 is a pretty damn good score. That would be 9.375/10. I will knock a bit off for the lack of info on the sleeve. Useless quotes and stupid pictures are not what this guy needs. I want the dirt. Who played what instrument and where. I will give most of those points back though for including Jeff Woods and George Stroumboulopoulus in the thank you credits. Those dudes are pretty cool Canucks.
FYC. Thanks for the wonderful guitar work Brian.