“No edits. No overdubs. No bullshit.” No kidding! There also also no frills, just seven songs and 30 minutes of rock and roll.
Death Before Suckass, recorded fall 1991, sounds like a crowd recording. You can tell by the douchebag talking before the Horsemen’s set. “You should see our drum kit! It fuckin’ blows that one away! $5000 Yamaha…” Whoop-de-do, fucko. Because no matter how much your kit costs, I doubt you could hammer on it as hard as Ken “Dimwit” Montgomery did on his.
Dimwit swiftly kicks things into motion, with “75 Again”, a screamy rocker that is about 9 out of 10 on the AC/DC scale of kickass. Lead singer Frankie Starr’s voice was primed for screaming, and could do it better than most. Without even a pause, “Hothead” follows up. In a groove now, lead guitarist Dave Lizmi greases up his Gibson and lays down some beautifully fluid solo work. In the realm of heavy bluesy rock and roll, few can touch Dave Lizmi. Then rhythm guitarist Haggis takes out his slide for the single “Tired Wings”, soaking it in whiskey stained blues. Frankie’s charismatic singing shares the spotlight with the biting licks.
A non-album track that used to get some live play was “Can’t Get Next to You”, an AC/DC blues a-la “The Jack”. There is a sloppy edit into “Wanted Man” but as Haggis says in the liner notes, there is nothing perfect about this CD. “Wanted Man” comes close, with Lizmi again doing some really impressive playing on the six string. The most familiar songs are the singles “Nobody Said it Was Easy” and “Rockin’ is Ma Business”. The beat is a little faster, a little more intense for the stage. The only tragedy is the fidelity of this CD does not capture the thunder. You can hear it on the stage, but you cannot feel it shake the floor. Too bad, because you can be assured it all but certainly did shake the floor.
And this leads to a quandry. This album is packaged intentionally minimalist. It suits the recording inside. But it has hard to ignore that what is recorded inside is only 30 minutes, and costs $18 US plus shipping. Yes, it definitely costs The Four Horsemen a lot to press up these independent discs, and they surely don’t make a lot of money on them. Still, it is hard for the cash-strapped fan to justify that kind of money, unless you are a superfan. And unfortunately, it is likely that only superfans will be able to appreciate Death Before Suckass as the valuable noisy treasure that it is.
COMPLETE FOUR HORSEMEN REVIEW SERIES:
1. NOBODY SAID IT WAS EASY (21ST ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
2. GETTIN’ PRETTY GOOD…AT BARELY GETTIN’ BY (1996)
3. WELFARE BOOGIE (21ST ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
4. DAYLIGHT AGAIN (21ST ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
5. LEFT FOR DEAD (1988-1992) (CD/DVD SET)