Wish the great southern rock bands hadn't degenerated into self-parody? Wish they'd embraced the metal that came in their wake? Well, friend, Alabama Thunderpussy is the band of your whiskey-sodden dreams.
ATP's stompin', redneck-metal sound combines Clutch's fury and Judas Priest's dual-lead-guitar majesty with the bluesy strut of the brothers Allman and Van Zant. ATP isn't as obsessed with despair as fellow southerners Eyehategod, and the group hasn't got the hard-on for hardcore violence that fuels Superjoint Ritual; ATP just brings the rock, make no mistake about it. The band's most recent album, 2002's Staring at the Divine, brought ATP some extra attention after the "Motor-Ready" video hit the airwaves of the revamped Headbanger's Ball, but it's ATP's 2000 effort, Constellation (formerly on Man's Ruin, now rescued by the band's new label, Relapse), that's the jewel in the crown. It's an ambitious concept record about Southern identity, but unlike, say, the Drive-By Truckers' Southern Rock Opera, it doesn't suck. So check 'em out, and yell "Skynyrd!" if you like. You won't get "Free Bird," but you might get "All I Can Do Is Write About It."