I didn’t want to review this, didn’t even want to listen to it. Angry Metal Guy said I had to do it. I bitched, moaned, put it off, made excuses and so on. I didn’t like the cover or the song titles. It screamed cheesy cock rock and I had a general feeling of dread. Yesterday I resigned myself to biting the bullet and just getting through it. Although I was pretty much right on the nail about the cock rock, much to my shock, this didn’t suck. In fact, it rocked! It seems even the mighty Steel Druhm can be wrong (like twice on eon). DC4 is a semi-supergroup composed of former members of Armored Saint (Jeff Duncan), Dio (Rowan Robertson) and Odin (Shawn Duncan). They play a metallized hard rock style that can be compared to classic era Van Halen if Dimebag Darrel was the guitarist and songwriter. Yes, I mean that. Electric Ministry is their third full length and it features a collection of straight forward, guitar-driven hard rock anthems with just enough grit and punch to satisfy the average metal monger. They effectively craft songs with big, pumping, meaty riffs and hooks galore. Its essentially panties-on-the-head party metal with a sleazy, “good times” vibe that veers into dark, disturbing areas at times. I’ll be honest here, I actively resisted liking this and it didn’t work. I resent DC4 making me support this release! What is the world coming to?
After a pointless intro, things get rocking in a hurry with the title track. The guitars do the talking in a big way with thick, crunchy, aggressive riffing and the mid-range, malleable vocals of Jeff Duncan. Its an in-your-face sound and style taking hard rock and jacking up the heavy quotient. Its a very simple, accessible song with a catchy chorus and great solos. They keep the momentum going full speed ahead with tracks like “XXX” (which has sleazy/stupid lyrics and sounds like an amped up version of the cheesy 80’s hit “Wild Wild West” by The Escape Club) and “25 to Life.” The first huge ear worm arrives with “Rock God” which truly sounds like David Lee Roth singing for old Pantera. Its a great song with a real “fuck you” attitude and I love it, though I hate myself for it in the mornings. It has some great guitar hero soloing too. Things take a strange but impressive turn with “Broken Soul.” As the album’s big cornerstone track, its far darker and more serious. Its also more emotional and quite frankly, grim and slightly unpleasant in its depiction of a broken woman seeking love through sex. Duncan’s vocals really shine here, especially during the big emotional chorus. Check out the cool Black Sabbath style riffs that flit in and out throughout the song. Very good stuff!
Elsewhere they deliver the somewhat silly but cool anthem “The Ballad of Rock and Roll” which could have been on Ozzy‘s No More Tears album and the absolute rocktastic “Glitter Girl.” This one revists the theme of a troubled women seeking the wrong types of attention and again, its lurid, puerill and unpleasant but it rocks really hard. Duncan again channels David Lee Roth but the music is much angrier, like the dark side of Van Halen. Electric Ministry winds down with another odd turn in “Dirty Hands” which is a countrified ballad complete with steel guitar and piano and it works despite lyrics so maudlin and trite, they would give the Cookie Monster a tummy ache.
The guitars are the focus on this album and Rowan Robertson and Jeff Duncan bring a lot of firepower to the show. There’s heaps of aggressive, urgent and catchy riffing in each song and some bigtime solo work (especially during “Broken Soul”). Duncan’s vocals are quite varied and morph to fit different moods. He can do a good tough guy shout/sing (“25 to Life”) and also pull off his David Lee Roth schtick effortlessly. They’re a tight, professional unit and their time in the industry shows, especially with the songwriting. Of the eleven songs, nine are rock solid, the other two are fairly decent. Not too shabby eh?
I didn’t want to review this, then I didn’t want to like this, but here we all are. DC4 is a hard rocking band and I dig their style. I’ll be hunting down their earlier stuff for sure. Check this out, because Steel Druhm is man enough to admit when he was wrong.