There’s nothing like crawling out of bed at noon on a Sunday, remembering as you do that you swore to yourself that today you’d get work done. Not just sit around watching cartoons and waiting to feel better. Naturally, when today started in just that fashion, I thought, “OK, of all the things I can do that would make me feel productive, what sounds the least dreadful right now?” Luckily there were a few new music submissions in my inbox, and sifting through them was far and away my most appealing option.
Let’s see, let’s see…EDM duo…no thank you…melodic hard rock with thrash/prog influences…maybe later…
Hmm…what’s this? David Park…he’s from Sweden and plays country music unlike anything I’ve ever heard before…
Now I don’t typically listen to country music, but this certainly sounds like my least offensive option. Keep in mind my coffee has still not cooled enough to drink, so there are distinct limits on what I can handle right now. I press play on track one of his new album, “Until I’m Done,” and I hear drums. Not country drums, but punk rock drums. There’s no doubt that these are punk rock drums. I know what punk rock drums sound like, and that’s what this is. 8 bars of that shit and then it’s HOLY FUCKING BANJO.
I was speechless. Slack-jawed, even. Unlike anything I’d heard before, indeed! It was heavy metal bluegrass. And no, I do not mean to say that it was psychobilly, I mean that it was heavy metal bluegrass. And as strange as that might sound, it works astonishingly well. My mouth stayed open, but turned to a disbelieving smile.
And maybe it does actually make more sense that it should. So much good metal has come out of the American south over the past decade or so that, even if at the end of the day David Park sounds miles away from Black Tusk and Baroness, there’s still something they have in common. Hell, if nothing else they certainly have a mutual fan in me. But seriously, I think those guys would like David Park, and I think they’d share a stage with him. I’d like to manage David Park just so I could make it happen! I’d say, “David, you can keep playing that banjo, but I’m telling you brother, you gotta go full metal! They’d eat it up here!” Of course, if keeping the country strong is his thing then by all means he should do it, especially since he does it so well, but I hope he considers it a compliment that the metal fan in me can only beg for more of the heaviness that makes his music so unique. Because in spirit even more than in sound, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is metal.
I think the best thing I can say about David Park’s music is that it avoids ever sounding like a gimmick. A few songs stray stylistically, most notably the grungier tracks “Private Paradise” and “One on One is Three,” but for the most part Park keeps the set consistent, pickin’ and a-grinnin’ and a-headbangin’ in the authentic style that he clearly adores. “Mandatory Suicide” is perhaps the only track that leans more toward metal than country, and while I personally would love to see a full album worth of heavier material, I’ll have to simply respect that David Park is a country boy, and appreciate how faithfully he puts this forth in his music.
If you want to hear something completely new and completely awesome, check out David Park here.
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