(CD/LP, High Roller Records, 2018)
Seeing Chris Black disbanding DAWNBRINGER made me think that he had decided to focus all of his writing energy on HIGH SPIRITS, but soon enough I discovered that I could not be more wrong. Yeah, under the PROFESSOR BLACK moniker, Chris pulled off the safety pin and started putting all of his material inside the vinyl press, and after one EP, there are three LPs waiting to see the light of day. That’s right; aside from “I Am The Rock”, there are two more albums coming our way, and each of them has a different style, so let’s get on with it, shall we?
I chose to start this Lucullian Metal feast with “I Am The Rock” and the reason is literally in plain sight; that’s right, the “Overkill”-stylized cover artwork piqued my interest in a MOTÖRHEAD way. If you have following Chris’ musical doings, then you should have noticed that he is a songwriter who is not trying to hide his influences. On the contrary, he puts them on the spotlight, and in this 11-track case, he pays a hearty homage to a band that influenced Metal in more ways than you can imagine. The distorted bass intro sounds the charge with the up-tempo “Get It On” and the rhythm guitar carries the MOTÖRHEAD in the most enjoyable way. Even though the references to Lemmy’s songwriting style are the main dish delivered by the rhythm section, there are some Chris Black signature phrases in the guitar leads and his full of nostalgia singing. I have no idea how he does this, but in every recording he is standing behind the mic, the old-school in-your-face atmosphere draws the listener’s immediate attention. Energy-wise, the album does not hold something back and it is pedal to the Metal from the get-go; the drumming combined with the harsher than usual vocals in “Dance Of Death” hit the “Overkill” nerve, the a tad faster “Watch What You Say” is full of attitude, leaving “Shakedown” to bring all the “No Class” flavor for your rocking out delight. Too much MOTÖRHEAD for you? Well, if you feel that way, then you should look elsewhere and then maybe reconsider your Metal affiliation or maybe you can be a museum exhibit for a metalhead who is not moved listening to such songs.
“End Of The Line” goes a bit off the MOTÖRHEAD script, and is closer to the HIGH SPIRITS spirit (pun intended) with a killer Hard Rock tempo and the kind of groove you’d like to listen on a Friday night rocking like there’s no tomorrow. Come to think of this, “I Am The Rock” can easily be the soundtrack for any Friday night, having the focus on foot-taping tempos, loud guitars and a bass sound to die for (with the right amount of distortion).
Things get a bit evil in the mean “Three Devils” (how couldn’t it be with lyrics talking about the destruction of the world?), before getting back to the bass-driven groove-delight of the album’s title track.
Being 666% free from all the shoulds and musts, Chris created an album for our listening and rocking pleasure, throwing out of the window all of the sound-expectations some metalheads like to have when there is a specific band name and / or logo outside an album. Do you like the MOTÖRHEAD-styled Rock ‘n’ Roll? Then you will enjoy blasting “I Am The Rock” to the appropriate “annoying the neighbors” volume.
01. Get It On
02. Bad News
03. Dance Of Death
04. Hired Gun
05. Watch What You Say
07. End Of The Line
08. Don't Talk To Me
09. Three Devils
10. I Am The Rock
11. Hard To Please
Chris Black - Drums, Bass, Vocals
Mark Sugar - Guitar