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Texas Hippie Coalition - Dark Side of Black Award winner

Texas Hippie Coalition
Dark Side of Black
by Jeff Legg at 13 April 2016, 12:28 PM

Being somewhat connected to the music industry, I sense a growing perception that Hard Rock/Heavy Metal is a dying breed, and that there’s this huge drought of modern rock heavyweights leading the genre back to where it once was. I continually hear people say, “Rock n Roll is dead”, or “what happened to real Rock n Roll with balls”. If you’ve ever wondered the same thing, or you’ve ever uttered a similar question, and by chance, you don’t own more than one TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION album; take a look in the mirror, because you’re the answer to your own question. Someone I know once said, and I quote, “Rock ain’t dead, it’s just in rehab”. The stay at Betty Ford was over years ago and THC is doing all they can do to resurrect a struggling, but not yet dead, genre.

TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION’s Red Dirt Metal style of music (a genre they created) is synonymous with the words, American Hard Rock. Possessing an edgy blues-heavy southern swagger, the same whisky-breath, badass characteristics of past Southern Fried Rock royalty, and blended perfectly with a slab of Shit-Kicking Texas Metal, THC is playing what every Blue-Collar Hard Rock fan wants to hear. With outlaw front man, Big Dad Ritch, whose microphone stand is a double barrel shotgun and is the self-proclaimed “King of Texas”, an emerging guitar prodigy in Cord Pool, the immensely talented drummer, Timmy Braun, and John Exall, easily one of the best bass players in the business, this Band Of Outlaws is an enigma in the prevailing mass confusion called the music industry. With now five studio albums under their belt, four with Carved Records, they have upped the ante on each and every release, polishing that trademark THC groove and begging people to get back into rock and roll like every generation before them. By staying true to their roots and not giving way to more marketable textures of the past decade, they have reached a level of success, not only in the USA, but worldwide, that has the music industry starting to gain interest in their brand of Hard Rock again. As well, they are influencing a younger generation of leather-vest-wearing musicians interested in carrying on the American way of playing rock n roll.

And just when some thought that these guys had peaked, TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION releases “Dark Side of Black”, a dark and heavy dose of, “you ain’t heard nothing yet” attitude that will definitely raise a few eyebrows, even among their enormous throng of HIPPIE followers. This well-oiled machine has definitely tightened the screws and taken their Red Dirt Metal sound, usually more Red Dirt than Metal, a bit richer on the Metal side. Never will they abandon their classic sound and image that we’re all used to, but a few days ago Ritch told me these words; “sometimes the volcano erupts and blows hot lava”. This volcano has definitely erupted.

The first few seconds of the first track, “Come and Get It”, gives you a tongue lashing like only BDR can give and sets the tone for what’s to come. Hold on tight… It’s obvious from Pool’s heavy-as-hell, chunky guitar riffs, the strength in Ritch’s voice, and the pounding, masterful bottom end of Exall and Braun, this is going to be a different ride. “Angel’s Fall”, the second track, offers the same heavy guitar, but Braun’s double bass picks up the pace like nothing we’ve ever heard from these boys. Ritch is definitely using every bit of elasticity that his vocal cords can afford him, while flaunting a more than normal pissed off tone. “Dark Side”, for me, represents a huge growth in songwriting and sound, and there couldn’t be a more fitting title for this track. Here, THC introduces a darker, hauntingly heavy sound, one that fits this band so well and will certainly be a mainstay sound for future albums. I literally got chills imagining this song being played live. The heat continues on other standouts like the super-heavy “Villain”, the heavy, almost punk flavored tracks “Into the Wall” and “Gods Are Angry”, and the power and fury of “Rise”, one of the baddest songs in the THC catalog and the first single released.

But there is still classic TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION represented in this slab of metal. “Knee Deep” and “Shakin’ Baby” are everything we love about this band and are two of the most infectious songs on the record. Now for the soul mover; “Hit It Again” is one my favorite songs on the record and the title pretty much speaks for itself; yes, it means exactly what you’re thinking. This is one of those songs that you will be singing for the rest of your life. From the opening sound of rain over the top of Pool’s acoustic guitar, to the powerful transition into a mid-tempo, power-chord driven southern masterpiece, this track is an instant classic. I must say, the work of producer Sterling Winfield (PANTERA, HELLYEAH, DAMAGEPLAN) on “Dark Side of Black” is outstanding and I recommend a quality sound system to experience every layer of recorded sound put into this amazing album.

Normally when a successful band decides to take their sound up a notch on the Richter scale of heaviness, they simply play faster, crank up the distortion, scream louder, and down tune to a sludge bludgeoning. But the ascension of THC’s finely honed heavier sound is a natural progression of musical evolution that has come by way of pure passion for the music and playing to any crowd, anywhere. But most importantly, TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION has lived the songs they write, by experiencing a different sort of life than most people can understand. And of course, good old fashion “busting their ass” night in and night out. Not so long ago, TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION’s sound was described as “a mixture of this band and that band”; they should be proud to know that they are now the narrative by which other bands are labeled. I had high expectations for “Dark Side of Black”, and again, THC has not disappointed. If you think rock is dead, TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION will definitely change your mind, and kick your ass in the process!!!!

5 Star Rating

1. Come Get It
2. Angel Fall
3. Shakin’ Baby
4. Knee Deep
5. Villain
6. Into The Wall
7. Dark Side
8. Rise
9. Hit It Again
10. Gods Are Angry
Big Dad Ritch - Vocals
Cord Pool - Guitar
John Exall - Bass
Timmy Braun - Drums
Record Label: Carved Records


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Edited 30 September 2022

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