Hot off the Press

Shotgun Express | Gypsy Blues

by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist —

Shotgun ExpressIf you like your hard rock served up raw, rude, and ripping, then this raucous band from Germany will penetrate your cochlear sweet spot with the precision of a sniper bullet. Shotgun Express is a sleaze-metal locomotive careening full steam down the tracks with ex-Nasty Riot front-man Diamond Flow at the helm. The band has a firm grasp of the sleaze-rock formula and dishes out the attitude with a refreshing lack of pretension.

This is a well-rounded, fully-fleshed band. The guitars in particular really stand out, infused with a six-string mastery that is all too often lacking in the sleaze genre. There is something almost Slash-esque in the tone and delivery, though the caliber is lesser. Vocalist Diamond Flow will never be listed as one of the great singers of the genre but his raspy voice and energetic delivery is suitable for this kind of stripped down sleaze-metal. The rhythm section gets the job done and really rises to the occasion on the heavier numbers.

The sleaze factor is fairly high; this is not an album you let your kid take to kindergarten unless you want a sharply-worded phone call from the principle. No, we’re not talking Steel Panther’s lyrical depravity here, but it sure as hell isn’t Dr. Seuss either. The band fires off its fair share of f-bombs, rhymes “gutter” with “motherf*cker,” confesses to having a hard cock, and begs girls to drop to their knees (one assumes this is not for prayer purposes).

But not every bone in the band’s body is erect and lascivious; the band has a soft side too. “Angel Without Wings” is the kind of acoustic ballad made popular by Poison or Tesla back in the ‘80s and while you can argue this kind of song has been done to death, Shotgun Express prove there’s always room for another, especially when it has a strong hook. The other tender moment comes when the album closes with a remake of “When a Man Loves a Woman,” an odd choice for a sleaze band to cover but it is actually handled very well.

Of course, some of you right now are saying, “Screw the ballads. I want some rock!” Well, fret not, because rock is what makes up the bulk of the album. The opening track, “Shotgun Express,” kicks things off in fine fashion and may remind astute listeners of the Roxx Gang debut. This segues into “From the Gutter” which talks about raising hell and having fun and it just so happens that the song does both. “Wasted Life” opens with a dueling guitar and harmonica and then quickly explodes into a ballsy heavy rocker that is all beefy bass and devil-be-damned distortion. And “L.A.M.F.” is bad-ass incarnate, a burn-it-up rocker that comes at you hard and heavy and blows gobs of hot, sleazy attitude right in your face like… well, no need for a metaphor here; pretty sure you get the idea.

A well-crafted sleaze-metal offering, Gypsy Blues bursts from your speakers and blasts your ears like a load of double-ought buckshot. These guys may not be the penultimate band in their chosen genre, but no sleaze-rock enthusiast will be singing the blues after giving Shotgun Express a spin.

Genre: Hard Rock, Sleaze Rock

Diamond Flow (vocals)
Johnny Cobra (guitar)
Scott Damn (guitar)
Robin Robben (bass)
Matt Lush (drums)

Track Listing
1. Shotgun Express
2. From the Gutter
3. Gypsy Blues
4. Gentleman
5. Angel Without Wings
6. A Wasted Life
7. Victory or Death
8. L.A.M.F.
9. Suicide
10. When a Man Loves a Woman

Label: Shotgun Suicide Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 7.8/10