Triggerman : Hail to the River Gods

They go by Dixie, Rory, Niall and Bap and they hail from Northern Ireland. (In my US-centric brain, I like to imagine Bap and Dixie are common names in Ireland, kind of like how Billy Bob, Dusty and Tex are in Texas.) Together they make up Triggerman and they rend their metal in the tradition of Clutch, Orange Goblin and Monster Magnet—heavy, blues-based with intelligent lyrics. In 2006 they put out a full-length album (Bull by the Horns), an EP in 2010 (Brand New Day) and this year another EP (Hail to the River Gods). While the quantity of their offerings is few—Hail to the River Gods only has seven tracks—the quality and magnitude are enormous.

This is a band that doesn’t fool around. They have a style and they don’t deviate. Their front man, Bap, plays guitar and does zero amount of prancing and posturing on stage. His vocals are an odd mix of commanding shout and sarcastic rant—he doesn’t so much sing as speak really loudly. Rory, drummer, is just flat out extraordinary. He plays with the rhythm of Jean-Paul Gaster (Clutch) and the precision of Brann Dailor (Mastodon). Dixie’s bass playing will make your subwoofers moan with naughty pleasure and the team of Niall and Bap on guitars is like a locomotive on crack, that is if 400,000 pounds of moving metal could somehow imbibe methamphetamines and you walked in front of it . . . well you get the picture.

Now, I don’t want to mislead anyone. There are a lot of different types of heavy metal, and everyone thinks their particular favorite is bigger and badder than the others. Triggerman is not death metal, they are not black metal, they are not speed metal. They deliver a bluesy, down-tuned metal more akin to stoner and groove than anything else. If that’s your gig—if Blast Tyrant (Clutch) and Time Travelling Blues (Orange Goblin) rank high on your top CD’s of all time list—then you absolutely need to listen to Triggerman.

It’s hard to pick a top three from this EP, but if you are short on time or funds or both, try “Hail to the River Gods,” “Thon Strange Brew,” and “Wake the Dead.”  The first twenty seconds of “Wake the Dead” should pretty much melt your ears, so listen to it last.