Get Some Go Again
Among the mulleted, marble-washed ne'er-do-wells that traditionally represent heavy metal's spittle-flecked ranks, there have always been those keen to shoehorn an IQ into the genre's leaden boots....
Among the mulleted, marble-washed ne’er-do-wells that traditionally represent heavy metal’s spittle-flecked ranks, there have always been those keen to shoehorn an IQ into the genre’s leaden boots. Those who, tired of all the dim-bulb lyrics and bird-brained machismo, have nobly striven for more cerebral pastures in which to graze their bloodshot muse. But while the pseudo-intellectual buffoonery of the likes of [a]Skunk Anansie[/a] suggest that metal and slightly above-average SAT scores can make awkward bedfellows, [a]Henry Rollins[/a] – author, thespian and bulldog-browed bon viveur – has proved you don’t need to make like a Saxon roadie to come up with the blistering metal goods.
Rollins‘ career has always been fraught with wilful contradictions. And now, two decades after he first bellowed for his supper with hardcore pioneers Black Flag, we find the thick-necked 38 year old still blithely wriggling out of convention’s straitjacket; still refusing to roll over and play the obsolete rock star.
Interestingly, as Rollins‘ invective eases into the slightly milder miffery of pre-middle age (his recent spoken-word shows saw him as peeved with scented candles and DIY superstores as he was with longtime bugbears like, say, capitalism), the more his music appears to have retreated into evolution’s potting shed. Thus ‘Get Some Go Again’ finds Hank – accompanied by Californian punksters Mother Superior – back in black and in a back-to-basics kinda mood.
Gone is the frenzied thrash-core that characterised his previous band’s finest moments. Instead, ‘GSGA’ is so taut and focused, every Neanderthal riff has a six-pack and an attitude you could use to stun a rhino. Similarly, Rollins‘ righteous fervour has gained a fiery-eyed momentum that lends even the most slaveringly retarded of rockers – the Stooges-in-a-tea-cup swagger of ‘I Go Day Glo’, for instance – an emotional intensity, largely absent from today’s shlock-obsessed metal world.
So we get ‘Monster’‘s fanged attack on bullish masculine mores (“Don’t wanna love you/But I do”), ‘Change It Up’‘s ferocious dissection of domestic violence, and a whole rockin’ caboodle of Black Sabbath-scented, Thin Lizzy-shaped belters. It’s an odd package – a mix of polemic and prehistoric riffery utterly unhampered by hard rock’s current predilection for vacuous sonic trickery.
Yet it’s the fact that Ol’ Hank has ignored popular metal dictum in order to get his paws mucky with the genre’s hirsute forerunners that makes ‘GSGA’ such a qualified success – no-brainer metal at, ironically, its smartest.