HOGJAW - Way Down Yonder
Release date March 16/18 (Snakefarm Records)
The Mighty Decibel's #1 Hard Rock Album of 2018 !!
Review originally published Feb 9/18.
Hogjaw are the best Southern rock band in existence today. Let that sink in. Lynyrd Skynyrd are on its last legs, Molly Hatchet is in hibernation, Allman Brothers are defunct and Blackfoot have been reduced to a bunch of hired youngsters. Meanwhile, Hogjaw have been cranking out excellent albums at a frightening pace since 2010 keeping the confederate flag waiving.
Which brings us to the band's new release, its seventh full length following 2015's Rise To The Mountains opus. That years' best album (of any genre) and a perfect 10 in this man's seemingly lonely opinion, the pressure was surely on these childhood friends to come up with the goods again just two years later.
Happy to report that Hogjaw come up spades once again here on newie Way Down Yonder. Think traditional Southern hard rock with truck loads of guitar solos and memorable choruses that will have you reminiscing about the best of your record collection of the genre. Strong whiffs of debut era Molly Hatchet, prime Lynryd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers can be imbibed, especially when you kick back with your favorite beverage and simply let the album wash over you. Friggin' amazing.
Hard pressed to pick out highlights since every last track is a keeper. One of the very few times that I can say 'all killer, no filler'. Forced at gunpoint, I'd point to the three specific tracks that should become classics of the genre if life were fair. 'Dark Horse' being the first, a foreboding tale about a gunslinger running from the law who is contemplating when death will come for him. Secondly, the upbeat 'Brown Water' about the good ol' boys enjoying their booze, and lastly the hard title track with its memorable conclusion of a man walking through a marsh whistling the song's main chorus.
That said, this album isn't about individual tracks; rather it should be consumed end-to-end. Over and over again. Looking forward to all those future listening sessions to determine if this gets elevated to the mythical 10 status.
End of year update: Yup - its the only album of 2018 to reach that lofty status.