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Throttlerod @ SXSW

Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas, USA

Throttlerod @ Ground Zero

Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA

Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA

Throttlerod @ Art Bar

Columbia, South Carolina, USA

Columbia, South Carolina, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


The South has risen again, and it's got itself a bitch of a hangover. Don't mess with transplanted South Carolinians Throttlerod first thing in the morning after a long night out, 'cuz they'll probably be even surlier and snarlier than they are here on their second album. Hell and High Water serves up a thick, meaty slab of raw Southern metal that's as hard and heavy as Birmingham steel. No morning latte for this crew, thanks -- just a little hair of the dog and four cups of coffee black enough to match the color of their hearts.

The group's sophomore record chronicles a year-and-a-half of sour times, exorcising the demons of lineup changes, grueling tours, the band's difficult relocation from Virginia and the deaths of close friends. Guitarist ... Matt Whitehead unleash vicious riffs that bark and growl like stone-cold crazy junkyard dogs, and Whitehead sings with a menacing, curled-lip drawl, spitting out his lyrics like chaw through gritted teeth. Typical Southern songwriting themes (read: honor, pride, wimmin, drankin', fightin') are the order of the day, but an undercurrent of bottled rage turns each track into a cathartic release of punked-up aggression. Trace elements of Skynyrd burble up out of the mix here and there, seasoning the main course of double-barreled Corrosion of Conformity-style Southern-fried metal. For these guys, the days of sweet-hearted ballads like "Melissa" and "Tuesday's Gone" died when that ill-fated twin-prop Convair plowed into the dark Mississippi mud.

Hell and High Water comes fully equipped with all the factory options of a classic Southern rock record -- rock songs aplenty, a slow song, an epic ten-minute closer with a big rock finish -- only stripped-down and rebuilt with modern parts by a mechanic tweaked on crank. Volume is Throttlerod's weapon of choice, and they wield it indiscriminately like an angry drunk with a broken bottle. The rhythm section kicks up a pummeling monster truck-sized ruckus behind punishing peals of guitar and Whitehead's 60-grit vocals on set opener "Marigold", lending it a brutish swagger. On its own, it rocks, but when followed up by "Sucker Punch" and the rip-snorting riff-smithery of "No Damn Fool", it's merely the biggest boulder in an avalanche. "Been Wrong" is a decent stab at a Bic-flicking lighter ballad, but could do with a little muscling-up (some strings and a Mellotron, perhaps?) to keep it from being drowned out by its louder, faster mates.

They sound tough and battle-hardened, a stark contrast with today's cute and cuddly crop of Dixie-bred rockers. If 3 Doors Down are Southern rock's new good ol' boys, Throttlerod are those mean fuckers who drink them under the table, steal their girlfriends and beat them silly in the parking lot every Saturday night.


"...with their second album, 2003's Hell and High Water, the band strikes upon a notably individualistic chord, honing their crunchy hard rock into a taught, unified wall-of-Les Paul. Let's just say that if guitar tone were everything, these boys would be headed for the Hall of Fame right now, but ... Throttlerod's focused assault and admirable songwriting economy are clearly their greatest weapons. Sure enough, full-throttle album highlights such as "Suckerpunch," "In the Flood," and the especially memorable "Tomorrow and a Loaded Gun" are discharged like round after round from a two-barrel, allowing little room for taking cover in-between." 4 Stars -

Holy EFFFing wall-of-guitar! This record will knock you on your ass and you'll crawl to your feet asking for more. Sounding like the logical but sonically advanced spawn of their first full-length "East Bound And Down" the record has big guitar tone, big choruses and big riffs all over it. Not to mention the cool and very fitting vocals/lyrics of Matt Whitehead who is in my opinion a modern southern-rock god when it comes to writing thick heavy southern rock that goes great with ten beers and bottle smashed over your head. The bottom end on this record is so heavy. This is what rock is meant to be. God, "In The Flood" is such a badass song. A unique thing that is cool is the southern rock picking that starts many of the songs only to seemlessly drop into the thick riffs of the chorus. Also many of these songs will be plodding along at mid-tempo and then just kick in and be flying at 60 mph. Do yourself a favor and pick up this record and go catch this band live as soon as you can. Remember where you heard about them. -


HELL & HIGH WATER - 2003 Small Stone Records
STARVE THE DEAD - 2004 Small Stone Records


Feeling a bit camera shy


"There are so many people doing the same chugga-chugga riffs, jams, and ten minute solos, and I've gotten sick of those comparisons," drawls the singer and guitarist. "Stoner rock has become just a Kyuss / Sabbath rip-off."

Since forming in July of 1999, Throttlerod hasn't ripped off anyone. Sure they had their influences, and sure some of them were sufficiently slow enough to land the band on Underdogma Records for their 2000 debut Eastbound And Down, but even then, the group was more Skynyrd than Sabbath, more Helmet than Hawkwind.

In the time since then, a lot of things happened, most of them not so good.

"Over the past year and a half, we've had several people close to us die, we've had vans breaking down, we've eaten shit on tours where we didn't shower for weeks at a time, we moved from South Carolina to Virginia which turned out to be a lot harder than expected, we've been broke, and we had to find a new drummer," recalls Whitehead.

The result of the band going through hell and high water? Hell And High Water, the new disc on the burgeoning Small Stone label.

"It's a statement," says Whitehead. "There are themes that run through the entire disc, but it's not a negative thing; we've been through all this shit but nobody's gonna stop us from putting out this record "

After spending just two days to record the debut, Hell And High Water marks the band's first time in a real studio with a producer, none other than Andrew Schneider, who has worked with everyone from the Bosstones to Cave In to Blue Man Group.

"We learned so much recording with him," he relates. "Right off the bat he said, 'Rock music is good for two things: drivin' and fuckin'; I can drive to it but I can't fuck to it yet.' So we slowed some things down a bit and the songs suddenly had whole new chemistries."

"This album's a lot different than our first album, too," he continues. "The songs (off Eastbound and Down) were a collection of songs that Bo (Leslie, guitarist) and I had done over the years, a collage of our history, whereas this album is much more focused and all from a single period in our lives, hence the title."

The disc encapsulates everything good in rock music in one package, a debt to the past that the current crop of Scandinavian rockers such as Hellacopters emulate so well combined with latter-period C.O.C. redneck metal with a punk spirit and ethos that is tempered with an infusion of real melody.

The definitive cut is lead track "Marigold," which a studio hanger-on said "reminded him of a snowplow scraping dry pavement in the middle of the night," laughs Whitehead. "I think that's perfect!"

Perfect...and don't forget it.