RABID DOGS “Black Cowslip”

By Dr. Abner Mality

On the mean streets of Italy, it’s a constant war between vigilante cops and bloodthirsty gangsters. Or at least that’s what the Italian film subgenre known as “poliziotteschi” would have us believe. Those films are cop movies at their most violent and subversive, with a Neapolitan flair. RABID DOGS are big fans and “Black Cowslip” plays like a grinding, sleazy tribute to the poliziotteschi.

This is their fourth album and I understand that they used to be much more of a straight grindcore band. Well, on this one, the rock and roll feel has taken over in a big way...I’d compare their sound to ENTOMBED’s “Wolverine Blues” crossed with CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and even dirty rock like HELLACOPTERS. The songs are short and punchy, with an underlying guitar sound that grinds away like classic Swedish death metal. But the riffs are rock-based and sometimes there’s even some dirty harmonica playing on “Frisco Joe” and “Raw Deal”. Vocals are gruff and bull-like and I think multiple band members chime in. “Charlie Lucky” is the best track...it’s got some monster riffing and is the perfect blend of death metal, sludge and sleazy rock.

It’s fun to listen to and easy on the brain. Those expecting brain-destroying grindcore might be a bit disappointed, but fans of everything from POISON IDEA to MOTORHEAD to ENTOMBED will dig it and the grimy crime lyrics give a good feel. Not an earth-shaking progressive masterpiece, but just a fun, raw record laced with the smell of gunsmoke and gasoline.