The Robot Lords of Tokyo have returned to deliver their third album of ten-ton riffage and whiskey-fueled vocals, available on CD and download January 15th, 2013. Entitled Virtue & Vice, the record features numerous guest six-stringers, including Chris Poland (Megadeth), Tracy G (Dio), Wayne Findlay (Michael Schenker Group) and Steve Theado (American Dog). Production duties were once again handled by Joe Viers (Bobaflex, No Sky Today), with mastering by Rickard Bengsston (Opeth, Arch Enemy)
The Robot Lords are the brainchild of Ohio-based songwriting duo Rick Ritzler (drums, guitar) and Paul Jones (vocals, guitar), who came up with the idea for the guest-laden project in 2006 and have since released two critically acclaimed albums on their own RLOT Records. Renowned metal scribe Martin Popoff called their 2009 sophomore effort, Whiskey, Blood & Napalm, “the best indie I’ve heard in a decade. Like an ass kickin’ Black Label Society crossed with The Sword, it’s a masterpiece of bludgeoning perfection and it will knock you on your ass.” His colleague Bob Nalbandian of Shockwaves/HardRadio called Jones “one of the most powerful new vocalists in metal today”, while Classic Rock Magazine named WB&N one of their Top 50 Albums of 2009.
For Virtue & Vice, Ritzler and Jones have once again teamed up with producer Viers to cook up their unique combination of classic metal riffing, stoner/doom grooves and southern swagger, sprinkled with just the right amount of shredding lead guitar pyrotechnics. In addition to the record’s nine new sonic sledgehammers, the Robots have once again reworked an obscure classic from the hard rock vaults, this time tackling the title track from Cinderella’s 1986 debut, Night Songs.
I like Salty Dog and Michael Hannon’s current band American Dog a lot, so I was looking forward to listening to this CD and it didn’t disappoint. If you liked the Dog’s Red, White Black & Blue disc, you will definitely enjoy Hard. The songs are along the same sound as Shitkicker off the aforementioned disc. This is whiskey soaked, sleazy, hard rock typical of American Dog’s usual style, but this is their best effort yet.
As the name would suggest, “Sometimes you Eat the Pussy” is a great dirty little number with the dirty lyrics to match. “Beaten Broken etc” is a mix of southern-rock/blues/redneck rock and it all works perfectly. “Rock n Roll Dog” has such cheesy yet clever lyrics you can’t help but smirk. In fact all the songs on here are pretty good, nice, loud and pounding beer drinkin’ stuff.
Michael Hannon’s vocals are raw, raunchy and distinctive. The band is tight for a three piece, yet not too polished, with lots of catchy riffs and burning bass lines. It all sounds good. If you like stuff like Nashville Pussy, Circus of Power and even George Thorogood, American Dog is the band for you.
So give the Dog a bone, grab some beer and go Hard with some American Dog. This CD kicks ass!
Rating: Out of 10
02. No Pity
03. Sometimes You Eat The Pussy
04. Another Day In Paradise
06. Long Time Comin’
07. Beaten, Broken, Etc.
08. Rock-N-Roll Dog
09. Spell On Me
10. Little Short
12. Magnificent Bastard
Michael Hannon – vocals and electric bass
Steve Theado – guitars and vocals
Keith Pickens – drums
Andrew “The Bastard” Batchelor – keyboards (8 & 12)
Produced by Joe Viers, Michael Hannon and Steve Theado.
Reviewed by Tania