Album Review: I Tread in Your Grave by The Death Wheelers
Well, let’s kick this week off right in the mouth with a steel toed boot, dose the fire with some Crown Royal, and ride off into the night smoking reefer with an undead vampire chick on the back of our blood-fueled motorcycles! Well, at least, that’s what The Death Wheelers would want us to do. And judging by the sounds of their debut full-length, “I Tread on Your Grave,” we probably shouldn’t argue with them. This instrumental (ANOTHER instrumental review, you ask? Better GODDAMN believe it, I answer.) quartet from The Great White North, sound like anything but your typical Canadian nice guys. If the band name being the alternate title of the 1973 film “Pyschomania”, for-the-juggular album title, grindhouse-style artwork, and song names such as “Roadkill 69” or “Motö Vampiro”didn’t give that away for you, perhaps the sypnosis of the record will:
Decimated in 1972 by local authorities, all members of The Death Wheelers, a notorious motorcycle club, have been buried at the Surrey cemetery. But the time has come and they have risen for their last ride. They’re back from the grave and they’re hungry for blood! Nothing can stop this gang of living dead from recruiting new members as they travel coast to coast to find the filthiest, nastiest, trashiest individuals to join their ranks. Their goal, assemble a legion of 13 discycles to seek revenge on the pigs that dismantled the club and send them to their graves. The cycle of violence continues.
Serving as a soundtrack to a beautifully grimy 70’s bikespoitation film narrative; this 11-track record weaves in and out of nasty grooves consisting of fuzzy-yet-stabbing-guitar licks, Harley Davidson-style bass rumbles, and drums that will raise the dead. All of this in the style fo some evil, swampy, blues, but packed with a Mortal-Kombat style flying kick-punk rock edge reminiscent of Raw Power to wake your ass up in the morning. Now, even if you are a huge fan of sleazy 70’s exploitation films (like myself) or have never even heard of them and don’t find that appealing (like most people), I whole heartedly believe you can and will still totally dig THE HELL out of this record. Being a fan of said pieces of fine cinematography will just help you appreciate this a little more.
From opening doomy strings of the title track to the closing war cry drums of the Zeppelin cover ‘Moby Dick” (Holy shit! Can you say… power move?), this record offers just enough diversity, change in key, tempo, and overall vibe of the tunes all while remaining true to its groovy, hard-rock, sleazy, and beautiful core to accomplish it’s mission of blood-sucking revenge! The vintage, lo-fi, fuzzy, groovy blues sound they achieve with the crushing, rumbling, thick, heavy sound simultaneously; his undeniably impressive. I would be like a ghoul in a graveyard loving to sit down and talk about gear with these guys. After having done some research, the Orange Amp heads, Marshalls, and old Fenders really make sense. The Death Wheelers really do a killer job (pun intended) at telling their story while being confined within the borders of hard rock as their medium. The whole record plays out just like a good horror, with a help with a few samples of 70’s bikesplotation classics like “Werewolves on Wheels” and even a blood-soaked lesbian reference from “Pink Flamingos”, this gives all of its sick listeners everything they could want in a raw B-Movie instrumental hard rock record and leave them begging for more.
I Tread on Your Grave is a perfect soundtrack to cruising around on a hot summer day with the windows down and nothing better to do. It is also gym approved if you feel like feeling like an undead biker disciple on a mission to kill while you’re doing your deadlifts… I know I do. All joking aside, The Death Wheelers provide one hell of a debut record that will make you feel cooler no matter what you’re doing. I can personally say this will be spinning on my vinyl record player for weeks to come. Bottom line: I loved everything about this shit and will keep my eye on this band for years to come.
Here’s to hoping they resurrect themselves for a sequel… I Still Tread On Your Grave, anyone?
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