9000 John Doe

Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over

Written by: PP on 20/01/2012 01:58:17

Well I'll be damned. One of the best Danish rock/metal releases in 2011 comes not from an established band in the underground gig circuit, but from a young and relatively unknown unit based in Aalborg, hence their name 9000 John Doe that refers to the postal code of the city (for any non-Danes reading this). Drenched in attitude and flannel ideology, "Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over", a punny title I interpret to mean something along the lines of rock'n'roll or die, is the finest piece of southern hardcore I've come across in the country. It's a record that kicks the door in and shoves a rusty shotgun in your face, demanding to know the exact location of your beer and whiskey right this moment OR ELSE, before driving away in its pick up truck to an impending bar fight in some unknown redneck town.

So translated into real terms, 9000 John Doe play rock'n'roll infused southern hardcore that screams 'FLANNEL....OHHHH YEAH' at the listener. But southern hardcore doesn't quite suffice to describe 9000 John Doe or like-minded bands such as Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, Red Fang, etc, and so the funny guys have come up with a better term and dubbed themselves as hillbilly hardcore. There's no better description for the style of music on display here, and one which is used in a tongue-in-cheek manner throughout the record in spirit, but especially in the instantly memorable "motherfucking hillbilly hardcore" chorus in album highlight "Designated Driver". With a chorus as catchy as that one, watch out Maylene.

Throughout the course of "Roll With It...", 9000 John Doe are clearly out to have fun with their southern influences, and take neither the style nor themselves very seriously. They concentrate on toying with plenty of groove-laden guitars, where rock'n'roll and hardcore meet in a perfect symbiosis of the two styles for one hella catchy package. The guitarists in particular seem to be really enjoying what they are doing, given the constant playful up-then-down scales and a riff-oriented approach to songwriting. The amount of groove present on the album is admirable, and legitimately challenges many of the bigger international names in quality of riffs. The key reason it is able to do so is precisely because the songwriting is lax enough to allow for bold chances and adventurous riffing that gives the album it's free-flowing and dynamic, thoroughly enjoyable vibe. It's quite simple, really. Either you like songs like "Joyride" or "Sexy Sixty Nine" or you just don't like having fun.

The songwriting is, if not outright international class, then at least very close to it, and should start opening doors to 9000 John Doe as more people hear their record. The only concern is their questionable production, which is a little too lo-fi and unpolished at times, but if you pay attention, underneath the surface you can find a couple of gems that will take this band far. And there are also moments where the production does the band favors, such as the crackling "woo-hoo" clean yells call/response pattern on "I'm Bringing The War", which give the song its underground charm in a way that doesn't hinder the song's potential at all. A big part of that charm is attributed to the dirtily distorted and roughened sound, as well as the raw nature of the album, which may prove to be difficult to translate onto a record with a big name producer in the future.

Still, with better production, this album has potential to be the best Danish album I've heard in 2011. Here's to hoping it'll be remastered one day with a decent budget, but one thing is certain: based on "Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over", 9000 John Doe are a likely candidate for long-term success, provided they keep their tongue-in-cheek approach to lyrics and their sound. If they also manage to get a rowdy, explosive live show going like southern hardcore masters Every Time I Die, they will go far, mark my words. Motherfucking hillbilly hardcore, indeed.


Download: Designated Driver, Joyride, Sexy Sixty Nine,
For the fans of: Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, Red Fang
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.06.2011

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