Hawg Jaw Send Out the Dogs

A debut of sorts, Send Out the Dogs is the first full-length album from these New Orleans sludgemeisters, and exactly half the tracks are new and unreleased, with the other half being taken from various out-of-print compilations and singles. Having served time in Eyehategod, guitarist Gary Mader set out to make his mark on the scene, resulting in the punk-blackened metal — along with front-man Mike Dares’ definitive Crowbar-ed vocal undertones — that has defined the band. "Embrace the Absence” and "Ruint” are very EHG-styled with walls of feedback and syrupy grooves. "From Angels to Insects (Halos and Hypocrites)” is more Cable-inspired while "Marking Ground” (both culled from the excellent South of Hell comp on Berserker) is an all-out punk assault with a godly Cavity-like bridge that finishes out the song. Dares shifts gears from calculated growlings to the unhinged ululations of the Jesus Lizard’s David Yow in the latter half of "Diggin’ Up The Hatchet,” which opens with a variation of "Dueling Banjos” followed by a Buzzov*en-like film sample. "Roadside Crosses” gets down and dirty on the old Floor tip, and "Constant Downpour” sounds like a perfect cross between Karma To Burn and Scissorfight. The bonus video for "Strike like a Snake” is not to miss: its grainy texture and frequent negative-image shifts well illustrate the band’s penchant for swamp rock. Wearing their NOLA pride on their sleeves, Hawg Jaw are worthy successors to the Eyehategod throne of sludge rock. (Throne)