What's going on here? In the last five years, there seems to be an abundance of new bands mimicking AC/DC and their universally recognizable sound. A top ten list of bands that are cloning or simply ripping off this venerable rock institution could include Airbourne, Rhino Bucket, and likely The Datsuns, Jet, and Snew. Even the Christians have gotten into the act, with the Mainline Riders. Now add Thomas Gurrath's (Debauchery) Big Ball and their debut, Hotter Than Hell. I guess AFM Records had to get on the gravy train, too.
The similarities are so blatant even Gurrath/Big Ball doesn't negate the comparison. A simple scan of the album cover proves nearly libelous as the cover is black and the band lettering is strangely familiar. For his part, Gurrath sounds more akin to Bon Scott merging with Udo Dirkschneider, making Big Ball more ACcept/DC. And the lyrical content drifts more to sex and sleaze transforming AC/DC's boogie rock n roll to Big Ball's porn n roll.
While listening to Hotter Than Hell is terrifying deja vu, suffering with Gurrath's vocals is downright painful: his incessant sneering Udo/Scott never lets up and shows no variation. Thankfully, the music does, at least at times. Riding with the Devil, Big Ball Crew, and Hotter Than Hell show something beyond the obvious homage, or ripoff, of that downunder band. Otherwise, Hotter Than Hell can be a near torturous listen from start to finish even while, all the time, trying to find enjoyment in that classic sound. The best thing going for this disc has to be Dennis Ward keeping the knobs in check.
Gurrath/Big Ball notes on their Myspace, "If you think AC/DC sucks you will hate us the same." But that begs the question. I love AC/DC and, frankly, the best band to ripoff AC/DC will always be AC/DC. Recommendation: take a pass on Big ball, 'conveniently' borrow the download from a friend, or wait until it shows up in the budget bin at your favorite music store.
From the first chord of the first song (or maybe a simple look at the album cover art), you will know who Big Ball sounds like. Is this really necessary? Surely, Big Ball is a qualified, but evil, doppelganger.