If one were to judge a book by its title, you might surmise that Buzzard Canyon was an outlaw country outfit — Hellfire & Whiskey sounds like a deep cut you’d hear on a Hank Jr. record, or something from modern-day Nashville darling Chris Stapleton. But there’s a half-decent chance this band has never even been to Nashville, seeing as they call New England home. Which isn’t to say they’re some crappy cross between Neil Diamond and the Dropkick Murphys, either!
On Hellfire & Whiskey, which may or may not be their debut — it’s the only album available on their Bandcamp — they crank out 35 minutes of heavy rock that’s more akin to somewhere down the coast… or across the country, for that matter. “Highway Run” has strains of Kyuss right off the get-go, with vocals that bring Acid King to mind. Sounds like they’ve got female lead and male backing in that department.
“SomaBitch” gets my head nodding right off the bat, the kind of groovy southern doom that reminds me of King Giant, Diablo Red… or fellow New Englanders Wasted Theory. The bass line that opens “Red Beards Massacre” has got visions of Scott Reeder dancing barefoot in my head. This one is slow ‘n mellow, but with a heavy southern vibe that reminds me of that long-lost Diablo Red pirate-themed EP. (I think I own the copy in existence, haha!) “Feathered Serpent” reminds me of Las Vegas doomsters Demon Lung, with perhaps just a touch of Witch Mountain, while “Not My Cross” throws a coupla tempo changes at ya with a solid mid-paced doomy rocker.
That said, the production on this one is a little rough—I’m guessing it’s an independent release. And aside from that one great intro, you really don’t get that big, bass-heavy sound best suited to this sorta stuff. As a result, a few tracks fall flat; the longer, slower songs in the middle are a bit of a buzzkill.