"Start the Race" (Gofannon; 2008)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

If a band is strongly influenced by an established act then it can be hard to get beyond being just a copy. In order to get beyond that level you have to bring something else to the game to make people care. If you don't, or can't, add anything then what you are doing isn't much different than being a tribute band.

French hard rock act Boneshaker obviously love Bon Scott era-AC/DC. After all, their previous release was almost half AC/DC covers. Their whole existence revolves around simple chords and heavy blues rock. No curve balls here, no intricate playing and no long winded passages. That's quite okay because what is here is revved up, blood-pumping hard rock with a razor sharp edge. They rarely take a breath or pause and that's a large part of their appeal.

Okay, I've heard this style before but Boneshaker are more consistent than other acts. They don't stop for much of anything because just plow forward. I remember hearing hard rock albums where you would get a few good fast songs here and there. This band doesn't hold back and, if you just live for full-throttle hard rock, then this disc is for you. I enjoyed it a lot; it's like having a big sugar rush that goes straight to your head.

Very basic style for sure, but they know how to deal with it and it's an improvement from their previous material.

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"Boneshaker" (Self-produced; 2007)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

Not to be confused with Wisconsin based metal trio Bone Shaker, this particular band hails from France and play a rather straight, bare knuckle style of hard rock.

The first thing I noticed here was, of course, how much the vocals sound like Bon Scott. Although AC/DC may be an influence on the music as well, I think Boneshaker does an admirable job of establishing their own style despite the obvious vocal similarities to Scott. The music is wired up and often fairly fast as the band plays like they have something to prove and a fire in their bellies. 

On the four original tracks they don't often give you much time to think as they kick in the doors and just stomp forward. It's heavy, it rocks and they know how to take charge of the pace and keep everything bouncing and grooving along with enough twists to keep it sounding fresh. 

But this is a slightly odd album in that it has four originals and then three AC/DC covers, naturally all from the Bon Scott era. So they tackle "High Voltage," "Sin City" and "Shot Down in Flames" as their trio of choice. Their versions are faithful to the originals and good enough, but I didn't get a sense that they put enough of themselves into these songs. That's kind of a shame because the four studio tracks did enough to show me that they had their own sound, but they didn't apply it much to the cover versions and, as far as I'm concerned, doing a different take on a cover is what to me makes it worth doing. 

Still a very decent album as they rattled out some strong hard rock with a real sense of confidence and a great deal of grit.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:11 -0400.