Mass Driver: “Struts and Cuts” Review

Local Super Action Rock and Rollers Mass Driver released their new album Struts and Cuts on July 5th of this year. 

Mass Driver, all of who are good friends with the El Burrito Blog crew, are all about having a good time and wearing their influences on their sleeves while creating fresh original rock and roll riffs that anyone can enjoy.  What I’ve always enjoyed about this band is their unique blend of hard rock and lyrics and aesthetics that make me think of an 80’s arcade game.  Especially with the retro 80’s album cover, they evoke the mood of trying to beat a tough arcade game whilst rocking out to a hard rock band akin to AC/DC or Motorhead.  It’s like a blend of “metal up yr ass” hard rock and classic video game/comic book geek fandom.  Lovers of both should have a good time here.

T-Minus Go” immediately kicks the album off with Mass Driver’s signature aggressive, yet not angry sound.  Sean’s guitar riffs immediately grip as the rest of the band lets loose with a wild jam.  “Heavy Ton” is a favorite which never fails to evoke an adrenaline rush, especially when seeing it performed live.  The album version works great as well.  The slow, yet aggressive vibe of this song is simply irresistible and one can’t help but completely groove their ass off to this one.  Special shout out goes to Rodney and the bass work here as it complements a fantastic groove.  Gives the song plenty of character without dominating it.  Austin, as always, keeps the energy strong on the drums and Sean offers some exciting guitar work.  “Boss Fight” is the fan favorite.  It also features an unforgettable music video starring Tyler McKee, brother of El Burrito Blog creator himself August Aguilar.  The band may be worn out of performing this live so often but it never fails to win a crowd over.   

Den Of Bots” is also a Mass Driver classic, my favorite part being the sudden shift in speed and heavy riffage about halfway into the song.  “Sex Reactor” is one of the best rockers on the album.  The amount of energy created here is wonderful.  There aren’t even any lyrics except for a brief monologue from Rodney, which results in him screaming “sex reactor!” at the top of his lungs.  The title gives it a completely ridiculous cock rock vibe, but damn if it isn’t completely irresistible.  Can’t imagine not having a great time to this one.  Everyone is on top form here.  “Powerklaw”, a great title in itself, is another great energetic rocker which also features every member in top form.  Austin even provides some cowbell here!  A winner of a song by that aspect alone.  Rodney also delivers some killer bass and Sean slays with his guitar riffage.  

The final few songs of the album consist of what I imagine to be the bands personal favorite cuts from their performance in Welcome To Ciderville show back in November of 2018.  Having attended the concert myself and helped with video footage, I can say this was one of my favorite performances of theirs I’ve caught to date.  Even with literally almost bringing the power and house down throughout, every member was rocking out through the stratosphere. 

Buzzsaw Dynamo” is a fan favorite as well and can’t be resisted when performed live.  Show me a man who doesn’t shout “ON, AND ON, AND ON” along with Rodney during the latter half of this song and I’ll show you a liar.  “Reptile” became an instant favorite of mine, particularly after hearing it at this concert.  I just cannot get enough of Sean’s fuzzy guitar riff here.  This song really is a chock full of amazing guitar riffs.  Rodney sounds gritter than ever here and Austin just knows how to contribute to the energy.  That’s a great thing about the band, listening to these live recordings, it hardly even sounds live.  Any band who can pull off the same brilliance live as in the studio is a huge sign of true talent.  “Escape Velocity” concludes the album with an acoustic ditty with visceral emotionally raw…no the band ends the album with a complete banger.    Of course, everyone is completely on top of their game here.   This was also a highly memorable cut to hear live.  I bet it was hard to condense only three songs to include from that concert.

To sum this album up in a nutshell…for God’s sake don’t drive to it.  If you’re looking for something familiar, yet new, and live in the Knoxville area, give these guys a shot!  The one thing that will be guaranteed at any of their shows…you’ll have a damn good tine,.  And as we all like to say to the band…”Fuck yeah Mass Driver!”.  

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