The blending of traditional honky-tonk and country sounds with punk rock and rockabilly elements has been Hank Williams the Third’s trademark sound for a while now and the self-proclaimed Hellbilly is back again with his 7th studio record.
Kicking off with opener “Getting’ Drunk and Fallin’ Down” and its meandering fiddle and mid-tempo beat, the stage is set for an album full of booze, anger, beat-downs and general sinfulness that brings tears to the eyes of the baby Jesus. Title track “Rebel Within” is a far more fast-paced, raucous and unforgiving track featuring standout backing vocals from members of the Hell’s House Band which makes one hope, for Hank’s sake, that this album isn’t entirely autobiographical.
“Drinkin’ Aint Hard To Do” brings things back to a more traditional ‘fiddle-n-slide’ country feel reminiscent of the elder Williams men and seems custom-made for last-call at your favourite dive bar, while “Tore Up and Loud” is the Mr Hyde to the earlier tack’s Dr Jeckyll with its pounding slap bass, lightning fast snare-rolls and hardcore guitar; ending on a distorted, furious vocal rant followed by the timeless “shave and a haircut”.
Lyrically, there isn’t a whole lot on this album that hasn’t been covered before. It could even be said to be clichéd in a good few instances, though it wouldn’t be advisable to say it to Hank III’s face; as it is also truly scary in parts. This album should appeal to the punk rockers, the alt-country drunks and the country-country inbreeds all at once, which would be a sight to behold indeed.
© Steve Pass, Music Vice
Hank III will be setting off with his bands Assjack and Hell’s House Band on a Canadian tour in early June, with US dates announced for later that month into July.