Dreadnaught have been around a long time, yet they have never been able to gain the following that a band of their talent deserves. “Hard Chargin'” goes a long way to both showcase their talent and even explain why they remain at arm’s length for many prog fans.
For those who don’t know them, Dreadnaught have been around since 1996 and seemed poised (to me anyway) to possibly break through into the prog world upper echelon with their 2001 release “The American Standard.” They were and still are a power trio that is quintessential American prog, like Frank Zappa, Kansas and echolyn all rolled into one very bizarre package.
For all of their ability to craft great songs and melodies, the trio always make sure there’s enough weird things going on that you don’t get too cozy. That’s still very much the case with “Hard Chargin'” which is the band’s brand new oddball epic album. It has some tracks that I love, some that are just okay and a few that drive me nuts! And that in a nutshell is why Dreadnaught are who they are.
The short trilogy of tracks under the “That’s The Way That You Do It” title are really just short throw aways and don’t do anything for me either way. Though the “Your Way” track is a comical take on country and western music. It’s funny but not something I ever yearn to hear…again.
Then there’s “Takin’ A Ride With The Fat Man” which has a VERY catchy yet incredibly annoying chorus. You will remember it but you will wish you couldn’t! Along the same lines is “Bo-Leg-Ba” which is shorter, less annoying but still catchy.
So what’s good, you ask? “Express Delight” is flat out amazing. Between the horns, congas and fuzzed out guitars, this song makes you forget the 2 tracks before it. Simply put, this is Dreadnaught at their very best. “Gets the Grease” is brief but more effective. It’s more like a minute of free jazz. “Slave Girls” sounds like Zappa doing metal and to a degree reminds me of Crack the Sky, another underrated American prog band.
“Mummies Of The Cobbosseecontee” is another one of my favorite tracks. This is the ten minute epic that the album needed. It could have been twice as long and still worked! It’s a wild ride with many twists and turns. I will even forgive the hand clapping (not a fan of that to be honest).
As you can see, “Hard Chargin'” is far from an easy album. While prog can be difficult, the issue is that sometimes Dreadnaught seem to be the only ones in on the joke. Other times, the craziness makes perfect sense and when that happens, it’s pure gold. For now, Dreadnaught will no doubt remain on the fringes of the prog world and I think they are fine with that!
1. Have A Drink With Dreadnaught
2. Gaudy Baubles
3. That’s The Way That You Do It (My Way)
4 Takin’ A Ride With The Fat Man
6. Express Delight
7. That’s The Way That You Do It (Your Way)
8. Gets the Grease
9. Slave Girls
10. Mummies Of The Cobbosseecontee
11. That’s The Way That You Do It (Our Way)
Label: Red Fez Records