The Chuck Norris Experiment - The Chuck Norris Experiment - Devil Doll Records 2006
Running Time: 32:11
In which five Swedes who should know better lie down and wallow in the rut of '70s/'80s trashrock with mixed results. Mentioning that the band includes members of Tiamat, Taurus, and Rickshaw will go absolutely nowhere towards helping you define the sound of The Chuck Norris Experiment. This album is about as far away in genre from Tiamat as virginity is from a Bryn Mawr sophomore, but that's a whole 'nother issue. Being as you've likely never heard the other two bands whose loins from whence TCNE sprang, suffice it to say that blown amp heads and bong hits are the order of the day.
"Senorita (Lookout)" sounds like Bad Wizard on downers, which isn't saying much. Half-ass vocals and retread rhythms held together with guitars that could just as easily have been played by the janitor at the studio set this dodgy engine running. If you took the riffs of "Smoke On The Water" and "Mississippi Queen", then propped Mick Jagger up long enough to mumble a few lines, you'd have a fair audio representation of "Little Demon". Much like it took Jimmy Page up to half an hour to get things right in the live setting, eventually TCNE lock onto the AC/DC-cum-Zeke groove of "Radioshadow". While the first half of the song doesn't grab you by the balls and say "Rock!", once the digital counter has passed 3:00, "Radioshadow"'s main riff gets all repetitive, burrowing into your brain whilst gasoline-soaked leads catch fire and ignite the energy level. The upward mobility continues, thankfully, Chuck Ransom's vocals during "I'm The Law" bringing to mind what might happen if once - just once - Brian Johnson had fronted Judas Priest during an encore of "Headed Out On The Highway". Trust me, it's not as bad as it sounds. Latter-day garage kill trio Amps II Eleven deserve some thanks for the musical inspiration behind "Go Heavy (On The Honey)", TCNE careening off the walls and sweating out enough cheap booze and adrenaline to float a barge. The Rocky Horror Picture Show sample kicking off "Dinosaur Fire" had me worried for a bit, but once the utter catchiness of the chorus hook snagged me and dragged me down the rut a little farther, all thoughts of transvestite aliens gave way to a rather nice air guitar moment courtesy of yours truly, if I do say so myself. All good things must end, though, and in this case, when TCNE begins its downhill slope, they trip and tumble quickly. "Reason For My Bad" is derivative, and could easily have been stolen off the cutting room floor of the studio where The Hellacopters tracked Payin' The Dues, while "Speedfever" continues the barrage of blah with that "Hey, look what happens when we record a couple minutes of musical farts!" feeling. I guess I shouldn't be too hard on The Chuck Norris Experiment, though. They never said they were original, and the style they call home is pretty much geared towards a throwback mentality. The singalong, handclapping US bonus track, "Caped Crusader" rollicks along ala Throw Rag, as devilishly celebratory as anything from the album's high point (which hits around the middle, in case you weren't aware). "Ugly Motherfucker Looking Just Like You" is a witty title, but the title is only as good as the song, and in this case, TCNE would've been better served switching the playing order of the two bonus tracks to that listed on the disc, as "Caped Crusader" would've put a better seal on the end of this rollercoaster of an album.
Fans of Dogs D'Amour, River City Rebels, or pretty much anything Detroit shits out as "garage rock" will be all over this, but your metal contingent will probably wisely pass on by. Myself, I'm undecided. I'll make good use of my stereo's Shuffle feature for this one, and hope it keeps cycling through the middle third of the album.