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The best kept secret in music


""Nail" Review"

Throttlerod is more than just another "Stoner Rock" band. On their latest release they've evolved into something more. Yes, they still have a little Southern bluesy edge to the music, but the wall of sound they've created here equal that of giants like Candlemass and Sedated Beggars. If only Black Label Society sound near this good! Plus, Matt Whitehead's vocals are much easier to listen to than the goat-like Zakk Wylde.

There's so many different things going on "Nail" it's hard to "nail" down a specific style. It's heavy as hell with some of the chunkiest riffs you've ever heard. Kevin White has apparently channeled the late John Bonham and Chris Sundstrom's bass punches you right in the sternum. I have to also compliment Andrew Schneider for producing, mixing and recording this album perfectly. He really brought out the best of the band.

I can't say that any one song stands out over the others, as usual, the first cut of most albums jump at you instantly, as "Prizefighter" does in this case. But start it somewhere in the middle and you'll get the same effect. Bottom line, they're not writing for radio or the corporate world so they songs are consistantly solid. Having said that, being a radio guy, I would have liked to hear a few more catchy choruses, but the fact that you're blown away by the raw power of the album, a poppy hook probably would sound stupid anyway. "Teething" is probably the song that stuck with me the most, and it's freakin' track 9, so there's obviously no slowing down.

Despite the amazing roster that Small Stone Records has, Throttlerod has impressed me more than any band with it's ability to make strait up rock sound fresh and exciting. I would highly recommend seeing this band live if at all possible.


""Nail" Review"

Throttlerod kicks my ass so hard that I swear my first (and yet-to-be conceived) child will come into this world with a shiner. This erstwhile Columbia trio rolled up its sleeves and cranked out another thunderous assortment of musical mayhem with their newest release for Small Stone, Nail. It's all assholes and elbows on these 10 tracks: the riffs are gargantuan, the vocals blistering and the rhythm section unmerciful. Give me something to break; I want somebody to shove. Songs like "Prizefighter," "A Fly on the Fault Line," "Teething" and "Indian Head" are musical napalm — not recommended for those with weak constitutions or metrosexuals.

- Kevin Langston

- The Free Times-Columbia, SC

""Nail" Review"

Chaos Realm

THROTTLEROD – “Nail” CD ’06 (Small Stone, US) – I honestly think that one of the most difficult things for a band to do is follow up a critically-acclaimed record. We’ve seen it a million times, the temptation is oh-so great to try to replicate, to “give ‘em what they want,” that is a clone of the album everybody loved. Lots of bands do it, most in fact and too often the result is a watered-down copy. You know, “For Those About To Rock, We Xerox You.” But once in a blue moon, you have an artist who throws all caution to the four winds & moves in a completely different direction, opening new doors & evolving, yet still keeping their essence alive.

One of the greatest & bravest examples ever, I think, is Zeppelin following the world-slaying behemoth riff machine of “II” with the largely acoustic, pastoral “III.” Virginia’s THROTTLEROD impresses the hell out of me with the same spirit of creativity here, albeit handled a little differently. 2003’s “Hell & High Water” was a landmark testimony of hard rock. Laced with melody, bluesiness & a dusty western vibe, it married kick-ass riffs to funky rhythms in “Marigold,” poured out an almost Black Crowes vibe on “Across Town” & made you think of the best Neil Young/Crazy Horse on “Honest Joe.”

Well, if “Hell & High Water” was the tale of heavy rawk from the pulpit of a ranch in Wyoming, then “Nail” brings it right between the eyes from the urban wasteland of broken glass, dark alleys & storm drains. Pared down to a trio here (Matt Whitehead – guitar & vox; Chris Sundstrom – bass; Kevin White – drums….guitarist Bo Leslie has left the fold), THROTTLEROD take a massively more metal/punk approach on this record. And, just as it’s predecessor’s bluesy vibe did, it works in spades. From the opening “Prizefighter” on, Whitehead’s Gibson-thru-Marshall pillaging crushes & interestingly, he brings in some off-beat chording that calls to mind the late Piggy of Voivod. His vocals howl with a new desperation & searing leads like the one in “Horse Paw” will clean your ears out more than just a little.

Meantime, Sundstrom & White lock into a big damn truck rhythm, both adding frills & dark flourishes that have the word “organic” written all over ‘em. In fact, check out the last couple songs, “Teething” & “Indian Head.” If the instrumental breaks in those don’t make you think of Mark, Don & Mel rampaging through “Into The Sun” on “Grand Funk Live,” you need a history lesson. A total clinic in how a band can evolve & play it anything BUT safe, “Nail” is an easy early contender for the Best of 2006.

- Chaos realm

""Nail" Review"

In the music business, accepting change proves notoriously difficult in most instances. Fans resist, bands splinter apart, vision is lost and a whole heap of wreckage ensues. Throttlerod, a Richmond-based, southern-tinged, rock trio has endured as much change as any band in the last couple of years, but with the release of their new album Nail, the group proves to be a survivor in the face of long odds.

In 2003, things seemed to be looking up for the band, which originated in South Carolina but moved to Richmond. They signed to Small Stone records and released Hell and High Water, performed at South by Southwest and seemed to be on their way. Since that year, however, the band's course has been less sure. An EP released to mixed reviews and the departure of founding member and guitarist Bo Leslie signaled trouble, but relentless touring and a new record prove that Throttlerod will not be denied or deterred.

The initial buzz surrounding Nail suggested that the band had returned to the harder, punkier, sound that defined more clearly the roots of the band's influences and its early sound. The buzz proves to be largely true in this case. Nail is a much harder record than either 2003's Hell and High Water or 2000's Eastbound and Down. Throttlerod tosses aside the laid back, country-flecked, and ballad-fueled style of last year's Starve the Dead EP and legitimately rocks with more punch than they've ever had. The almighty riff remains the torso of Throttlerod's muscular sound and lead singer and guitarist Matt Whitehead steps up to fill the void of the departed Leslie. The overall guitar tone is different and not quite as thick, but the music doesn't lose much in the way of raw power. In fact, the producer Andrew Schweider overdrives the sound so much that the wounds-flayed-open quality of the guitar compensates for any drop off in the depth of the instrument through the mix. A raw metallic edge permeates the record that just oozes treble and leaves the speakers ringing with cymbal and echo.

From the bass-and-drums intro of opening track, "Prizefighter", Throttlerod serves notice that they're done with the groove-heavy hard southern rock in which they dabbled in the past. Whitehead's vocals spew out of the speakers urgent and distorted, and the lyrics flow in a sort of semi-illogical rant of a punch-drunk boxer. An early-Helmet like devastation washes over the entire song towards the end and has that late-eighties hardcore feel to it with modern sensibilities, that is, to amp the volume and fill all of the empty space with sound. Songs like "Stand 'Em Up" and "Teething" smack of a band taking the criticism of their last album to heart and moving in a decidedly different direction. Elements of their earlier releases are still present in the big choruses and layered backing vocals, and this is particularly evident on "Stand 'Em Up" but the added aggression keeps the record in overdrive. This is a band who knows that they're probably not getting radio play and who doesn't care.

Tight at ten songs, Throttlerod has pared away any filler from Nail. They've saved every bit of raw energy for the songs that really matter. Just give a listen to the brutal, "Shovel". From the out and out rockers like the title track to the almost Doom-tempo "Horse Paw", Throttlerod manages to mix things up adequately while maintaining a cohesive feel to the record that's never forced. A mix of songwriting and production, this cohesion makes listening to Nail an experience that feels too brief. This record is all the heaviness and explosion of modern rock without the whining self-righteousness you'll hear from most bands actually getting radio airtime.

Throttlerod, with Nail, manages to make an album that should please their fans, and at the same time, takes a noticeable step in a new direction. Some bands are content to continue cranking out the same album over and over again, just to keep the fan base they have. Throttlerod should be commended for keeping the fans they have while still trying to give them something new. All evolution represents change, but not all change is evolution. Sometimes finding true evolution baffles even the most resolute-Throttlerod find it, though. In fact, they hit the nail right on the head.

Travis Becker
March 8th, 2006



By The Horns (E.P.) 1999
Eastbound And Down 2000
Hell And High Water 2003
Starve The dead (E.P.) 2004
Nail 2006


Feeling a bit camera shy


Throttlerod began during July of 1999 in a Columbia, SC Public Storage unit. Within 3 months, the band had recorded their By the Horns demo EP and played their first show in a 5 Points parking lot. By the next spring, the band had purchased a van and had begun touring the east coast and midwest. After 2 1/2 years in Columbia, and following a change in bass players, Throttlerod decided to pack up and move north to Richmond, VA. Here they went through another change, this time replacing their drummer.

Armed with a solid rhythm section, the band began writing their second album that would be titled Hell and High Water. Musically, this is a more distilled, yet manic depressive Throttlerod, where the highs are high and the lows are low. This is what Throttlerod was meant to be: crushingly heavy, a solid backbone, and no apologies. The new album title, Hell and High Water, alone describes the band's last two years involving member changes, unemployment, van breakdowns, and a relocation that both saved the band and made for harder times.

Following the release of Hell and High Water, Throttlerod immediately began hitting the road with a 26 shows in 29 days tour of the east coast and midwest that included a stop at CMJ in New York City. 2004 brought an unexpected, more mellow Throttlerod EP entitled Starve the Dead and more vigorous touring that included a stop at South By Southwest.

In August 2005, Throttlerod will start yet another new chapter when they embark on another tour and enter the studio with Andrew Schnieder to record their next album to be released on Small Stone Records in January 2006.