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Album Review

Besides Manowar, has any other other "manly rock band" been so, well, manly for as long and consistently as Molly Hatchet? Probably not. Over 20 years since the release of their debut offering comes their 13th studio effort, 2010's Justice, and as expected, it's quite an ass-kicker. If you're looking for a bunch of crybabies gently strumming their guitars and singing in whispered tones, you've come to the wrong place. Justice is all about loud 'n' proud hard rock — brash, boisterous, and ballsy. Guitarist Dave Hlubek may be the lone original member left in attendance within the group's ranks, but the essence of who Molly Hatchet are — bluesy headbangers constantly seeking to pen the perfect Harley-riding soundtrack — remains very much intact throughout Justice. A case in point is the album opener, "Been to Heaven, Been to Hell," which rocks hard right out of the gate, and even though the track "Deep Water" begins with some decidedly ‘80s-esque keyboard sounds, it doesn't take long before the real Molly appear, with some effective (yet straightforward) dual guitar harmonies that would make Thin Lizzy proud. And staying true to their Southern rock roots, piano can be heard throughout the album, bringing some down-home goodness to such selections as "American Pride." And there's a track that sticks out like a sore thumb — "Fly on Wings of Angels (Somer's Song)" — but with good reason. The ballad (which starts off with a child singing "You Are My Sunshine") is dedicated to the memory of a child from Molly Hatchet's home state of Florida, Somer Thompson, who was brutally murdered — and whose family the group has supported and played a charity show for (to raise awareness and bring the murderers to justice). The song's sound may not necessarily fit with Molly Hatchet's tough-guy image, but lyrically and emotionally, "Fly on Wings of Angels (Somer's Song)" probably carries the most weight on the entire album. This late in the game, it's impressive how Molly Hatchet still rock with such a vengeance — as evidenced throughout Justice.


Formed: 1975 in Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Named after a legendary Southern prostitute who allegedly beheaded and mutilated her clients, Jacksonville's Molly Hatchet meld loud hard rock boogie with guitar jam-oriented Southern rock. Formed in 1975, the group's original lineup featured three guitarists -- Dave Hlubek, Steve Holland, and Duane Roland -- plus vocalist Danny Joe Brown, bassist Banner Thomas, and drummer Bruce Crump. They recorded a self-titled debut album in 1978, which quickly went platinum; the follow-up, Flirtin' with Disaster,...
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