Beaten Back to Pure The Burning South

Instead of banging out another sludge-caked record along the lines of 2003’s The Last Refuge of the Sons of Bitches, Virginia’s Beaten Back to Pure choose to tighten their musical screws toward more rough and tumble rock while gravel-throated front-man Ben staves off the cigarettes for the new album. His noteworthy clean vocals sport tinges of Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver front-man Scott Weiland, often sounding like a cross between old Abdullah and a heavy-metal Skynyrd. Sure, he still growls like a pack-a-day smoker on opener "American Vermin,” but on "Smothered in Sundress” he invokes the Cult’s Ian Astbury in this groove-based rocker with hints of the more mainstream Monster Magnet. "Hell Goes through Hanging Dog” is clubfooted Southern filthcore like Alabama Thunderpussy and so many Small Stone bands, and "Vertigo” slurps down shots of Motörhead tendencies and chases them with Southern rock. The album highlight "One Shovel and a Place to Die” has blazing guitar leads and a long doomy outro, perfectly encapsulating BBTP’s current game plan. The drum cadence in "Where the Sewer Meets the Sea” could pass for old Motörhead, and "Pillars Of Tomorrow, Piles of Yesterday” has really emotive guitar bridges and a chewy, Quintaine Americana centre. The Burning South proves that straying a bit from one’s doomy roots can result in a more satisfying listen. (This Dark Reign)