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DC4 Atomic Highway

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Tuesday, September 4, 2018 @ 8:47 AM


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DC4
Atomic Highway

HighVolMusic
https://www.facebook.com/DC4HardRock/




Since the release of their debut album Mood Swings in 1997, the critically-acclaimed LA-based band DC4 have ridden on to supergroup superstardom to the point that they’ve been billed as being a megarock band. And easy to see why with the collective lineup of the brothers Duncan – Jeff (ARMORED SAINT/ODIN) on vocals/guitar, Shawn (ODIN/KILLER BEE) on drums, Matt on bass – and former DIO/current RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT axeman Rowan Robertson navigating the band’s course over the past 20+ years and getting as much mileage from their time in the band. With all of the members of DC4 having collectively appeared on over 40 releases in their careers including DC4’s own work, the band’s fifth release Atomic Highway continues down the path to megarock glory with a driving soundtrack that’s as wide and long as the trip itself.

While individually the members of DC4 have long been used to playing 5 minute long songs in their other respective bands, Atomic Highway is their own first ambitiously long album. By that I mean much of the songs average about 5-6 minutes in length rather than 4-5 minutes. Pretty radical departure for a straight-ahead rock band in trying to expand their musical palette with longer displays of musicianship to be honest. Take the opening number “Progeny/Queen Of Angels” as a perfect example here, a song celebrating the glory of rock ‘n roll excess and the fun of discovering music at a young age. The song’s intro is a riveting instrumental build-up to the song itself and retains momentum throughout its delivery. It didn’t hurt “The Hellion/Electric Eye” and “Eruption/You Really Got Me” when those songs first came out despite their different subject matter but similar musical arrangement. Not to say that some of the album’s other tracks don’t deliver hundredfold with their straight-ahead catchy jams such as “Dominique”, “Something In My Head” and the fast-paced catchy-as-syphilis title track. Because they, like, totally do.

Elsewhere, the more complex tracks on Atomic Highway such as “One And Only” and “Castaway” feature some of Jeff Duncan’s more darker-sounding songwriting. Melodic and catchy but also wouldn’t be completely out of place if either of those songs had appeared as a B-side to almost any song off of Symbol Of Salvation in parts – and Jeff’s played on that album too. And another first for DC4 on this album is not only a cover – and a fiery one at that – of THE WHO’s “Baba O’Reilly”, but guest appearances by both John Bush and Dizzy Reed, whose vocal/musical performances come dangerously close to outplaying the magic of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend on the original, make their version an awesome final number for this album, their version closing out with a thundering climax courtesy of the magic fretwork of Jeff Duncan and Rowan Robertson. The mixing/mastering work of Bill Metoyer (ARMORED SAINT, COC, SLAYER, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES) and co-production work of Jeff Duncan also rounds out the album’s fine engineering process.

So what can one take from the very first test drive of Atomic Highway? Beyond being a sweet ride, the album is pure pedal to the metal honest hard rock at its highest performance that travels like a dream outside of the showroom with some minor adjustments. Call it the band’s version of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster at first listen compared to the previous DC4 output: You think you’re unsure about it now, but wait until you drive it!

5.0 Out Of 5.0


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