Brimstone Howl - Guts of Steel (Cover Artwork)

Brimstone Howl

Guts of Steel (2007)


After two albums on Speed Nebraska! Records, one released under their old name, Zyklon Bees, and a slew of great 7"s that followed, Nebraska's own Brimstone Howl deliver their third full-length, Guts of Steel, their first for Alive Records.

Brimstone Howl is known for a sound that infuses early rock and roll sounds with blues, producing something that's comparable to early Rolling Stones, the Sonics, or the Black Keys and Guts of Steel is no different.

For the album, Brimstone Howl decided to re-record a few songs from previous releases, giving them a bit of a spit-shine polish, and adding them alongside new material. They start it all off with the gritty dirty guitar riff-driven "Bad Seed" and don't let the listener go from there until they slow things up with the straight-up blues of "Luck of the Spade"; after this things pick right back up again until the almost gospel bluesy sound of "Six and Seven." They might lose a listener or two on that one, a tune which preaches about the Jesus and the judgment day, but it's really the listener's loss if they choose to leave at that point, because the album finishes out in great form with truly awesome barn-burners like "Cyclone Boy" and "I'm a Man."

The Black Keys comparison above is a very reasonable one, not only because Alive Records released their first album as well, but also because it was produced and engineered by the Keys' own vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach. He certainly left his mark here, opting for a similar-to-the Keys' style rough lo-fi sound that fits in perfectly with what Brimstone Howl is doing.

Guts of Steel is a real gem of an album from a part of the country you don't seem to hear too much coming out of, which is a shame if they can produce bands like this. I personally can't wait for future releases from these gentlemen as they get older; they're barely old enough to drink legally, and yet they refine their sound even more on Guts of Steel.