Who are they?
Gravel Drag are 3 piece instrumental riffing band from Bedford Virginia. They are made up of Steve McKinney on Guitar, Ben McKinney on Drums and Chris Bower on Bass.
They create heavy rockin’ southern groove inspired tunes that will stick in the brain of any lover of riffs.
Are They Any Good?
Sometimes thinking is hard, especially when you have the brain capacity of a fart. This is why I am so happy I when I find instrumental music I like. No lyrics with clever hidden meanings to try and decipher is sometimes a blessing. This is music that needs no words, it speaks for itself, out and out Rock ‘n’ Roll that you can listen to deeply and take it all in or have in the background while you go about your daily business.
It is also a blessing to find an instrumental band who tick all the boxes in terms of your favourite genres of metal, mine being groove and stoner. Fortunately for me (and you) these guys do all of this, and they do it very well.
The Album: Sly Fox
Sly Fox is a head banger from start to finish. One thing that caught me immediately is the snare drum resonance which makes it stand out and the which in turn accentuates the groove feeling. Also the use of the crash symbols, at times even more so that the hi hat, give you the constant feeling of satisfaction that only a crash symbol can.
The bass and guitar parts are solid, well written and performed, without ever being flashy and irritating. They provide plenty of teeth gritting, snarling, head nodding moments.
Throughout this album there is no filler, every track is a good stand alone piece of work although I will talk about a couple of tracks that particularly resonated with me. They touch on psychedelic, groove metal, hard rock and doom metal sounds at points giving enough variation for it to keep you completely hypnotised throughout.
“Warbeast” stands out as a very strong track on the album. One reason for this is because it shares it’s name with the band Warbeast, who have to be seen to be believed! Secondly because the opening riff reminds me of a song I wrote back in the day of trying to be a rock star in a band with my mates. But it stands out mainly because it’s one of those tracks you hear and think, “fuck me I wish I’d written this”. It moves from between different riffs and each one you hear is a pleasant addition to the song.
“The Legend of Sly Fox” has some groove parts that are simply joyous. When I sat parked up in the car listening to this track, the car was rocking so much I got reported for dogging!
“Knockout King” is a brillaint closer. Short, punchy with some of the best drum work on the album. I’ve listened through this record 6 or more times now and everytime this song ends a have a feeling of disappointment that the album has finished! Surely that is a sure sign of some great work?
The album has a raw, live feel which is always a bonus on recorded output for me. The feeling that these guys are just in a room together jamming, having fun, really comes across and adds to the listening enjoyment.
You can buy this album on bandcamp for $3. Yes just $3. Or in English money £2.08! So why haven’t you bought it yet? It’s a small investment for a great quality listen.
Since releasing the album they have released this video for a song called “We’re on Kill”. It’s a great tune and the perfect visual representation o their sound.
Gravel Drag are a band that I dare say fans of every genre from straight out Rock to Thrash Metal would appreciate in some way. I’ve not come across many instrumental bands, especially in rock and heavy music that manage to deliver, so far, consistently quality song writing. So if you enjoyed the songs included please invest, follow and support this band.