Released on July 4, 2020 (Two Dogs, Inc.)
When I was presented a chance to check out and review the latest release from Australian rockers Roadkill, I was immediately overcome by the usual mixed feelings that pop up when I hear the words “Australian hard rock band.” Even more so when the release includes a cover of one of my fave tunes by my favorite ever Aussie rock band. On one hand, I have always been hooked on the raw rhythmic rocking energy of AC/DC and a few other bands from down under like Rose Tattoo, but on the other hand, over the years, I have been turned off time and time again by countless scores of bands that are just second hand clones of AC/DC. Seriously, to this day, I appreciate the energy of Airbourne, but I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. To me, they may as well just be an AC/DC cover band.
While looking over the info on Roadkill‘s latest offering Lock Down, I was immediately drawn to the words next to the track “Touch Too Much” confirming that it was indeed a cover of that great song from AC/DC‘s classic Highway To Hell record. First, I was kind of excited until the thoughts “Oh my God! Are these guys gonna be another group of AC/DC wannabes?” Well, luckily for myself (and anyone else who loves raw three chord rock and roll), while Roadkill are loaded with all the loose cut to the chase rhythmic spit and fire rock and roll qualities of their High Voltage forefathers, this newer Aussie five-piece has a rock and roll sound way more way more unique than those Airbourne dudes.
Independently dropping a solid lot of rocking records between 2007 and 2015 garnered Roadkill a brief relationship with Melodic Rock Records. Three years, two releases (2016’s Extinct and 2018’s Ruled by Machines) as well as many favorable reviews worldwide only led to the realization that the band was far more of a promotional and merchandise sales force than the label prompting a jump to Roadkill‘s current home, Two Dogs, Inc. The result was Lock Down — a seven song CD of previously released tracks remixed by the band’s regular producer Joe Haley — topped with a couple new rocking originals and the band’s fresh take on “Touch Too Much.”
With Lock Down, Roadkill give a second chance to songs from the two albums reportedly ignored during their time at Melodic Rock Records and the boost is not only obvious but depending on personal taste, likely an unplanned blessing in disguise. While not as full and raw as the original versions on Extinct, “What The Hell”, “Ready For War,” and “In the Dark” are given a slight bit of technical facelift making them bombastically perfect for hard rock radio. While in spots, the AC/DC influence is there, it’s just a touch (but not too much) of the loose ballsy sexy Bon Scott era rock stuff.
On the Ruled by Machines remix, Roadkill channel a more snarky run over and through your ass “Peace Sells” kind of Megadeth dirty vibe courtesy of “Breaking All The Rules” that just snarls rock and roll. Yeah, that’s all good and great but what really sells Roadkill‘s Two Dog introductory platter are the two new tracks that kick off things, which is a sign that the band isn’t willing to let past label frustrations set them back even an inch. “Get Outta My Way” and “Dirty Girls” find Roadkill still roaring forward two years after their final disc for Melodic Rock Records and refusing to slow down. Both tracks are energetic and each blisters fast and furious in somewhat different ways. It’s balls out rock and roll that fans of not just AC/DC would dig, but also lovers of classic metal groups like Mötorhead and Metallica.
After six great original songs showcasing the best that Roadkill have to offer past, present, and future, the guys drop a final bomb with their take on “Touch Too Much” that I mentioned earlier. Too ornery to simply take the easy way out, Roadkill only stick true to the original in progression while giving it their own full fisted shellacking. In a world where covers of hard rock tunes are a yawning dime a dozen, Roadkill take every chance to make their version more than just a closing after thought. Yeah, the original will forever exist in my mind as just one of many tracks on one of the greatest hard rock releases of all time but hearing Roadkill‘s energetic and loosely punk-ish raw version gives it even more life. In my opinion, even Malcolm Young would give a nod and a high held toast to Roadkill‘s version of “Touch Too Much.” It’s bold, brash, edgy, and worthy of a place on a proper rock and roll release.
A dozen years after firing off their first album, Roadkill are still barreling down the rock and roll highway full pedal to the metal. On Lock Down, it appears that there is little chance of them pulling over or losing control of the wheel until they’ve blasted out the innards of every metal fans ears while making ’em scream “what the hell!”
01. Get Outta My Way
02. Dirty Girls
03. Breaking All The Rules
04. What The Hell
05. In The Dark
06. Ready For War
07. Touch Too Much
Neil “Steel” Wilson – vocals
Zig – guitar
James Basser – guitar
Ted Tedington – bass
Brendan “Squid” Sheverton – drums
Produced by Joe Haley
Reviewed by John Stoney Cannon for Sleaze Roxx, December 2020
Roadkill‘s “What The Hell” (2020 Audio Remix) single:
Roadkill‘s “Ready For War” (2020 Audio Remix) single:
Roadkill‘s “Dirty Girls” (2020 Audio Remix) single:
Roadkill‘s “Get Outta My Way” (2020 Audio Remix) single:
Roadkill‘s “Touch Too Much” single: