It’s always interesting when a band from a certain place play music that is normally associated with another place. This is very much the case with Tombstone Highway, who originate from Piacenza, Italy, but if you didn’t already know this then you could well be mistaken for thinking this was a band of good ol’ boys from the Deep South.
Because the second that opening track ‘Old Blood’ rips out from your speakers you get a heavy blend of Black Label Society riffage – including those pinched harmonics – and Corrosion of Conformity attitude, with a banjo being plucked over the top of the carnage as if to hammer the point home. The comparisons may sound a little derogatory – because, quite honestly, there’s not a single second of this album that doesn’t sound like anything from the aforementioned bands, plus you can also throw Pride & Glory, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Resurrection Sorrow and the ever-present Black Sabbath into the pot – but to be honest “Ruralizer” is as good an album as a lot of the material that any of those bands has released. Okay, it may not be as required listening as, say, “Deliverance” but it blows away “America’s Volume Dealer”.
Tombstone Highway obviously love what they do, which shows because they are good at it, and tracks like the furious ‘Hangman’s Friend’, the hard groove of ‘Bite the Dust (And Bleed)’ – which brings to mind Rickey Medlocke & Blackfoot at their swaggering best – and their excellent cover of Mountain’s ‘Mississippi Queen’ are stridently confident and ball-bustingly addictive. So ignore the fact they’re not from the swamps of Louisiana or the Florida Keys and kick back, crack a beer and enjoy.