Oakland rockers Atomic Kavemen are an intriguing bunch. It’s hard not to instantly dismiss their knuckle-dragging garage rock/metal as nothing but a bunch of fools thrashing away at their instruments and caterwauling like Danzig while he’s fighting a particularly productive head cold…..but somehow, they do reveal themselves to be a unique prospect.
Supposedly described as “proto-grunge” (is that really a ‘thing’?), “punk n roll” and “radioactive garage metal” by critics, what is certain is that opening track “Walking Away” is a bag of shite but at least the comedic “Slam Hammer” provides some enjoyment. It’s still just the crappiest version of a Danzig track you’ve ever heard but at least it’s entertaining.
There’s the potential for this pillorying set of tunes to knowingly be mocking their own creators, self-referential and post-modern in an annoyingly cloy manner which positively shouts, “Ha! The jokes on you!” The other option is that this is actually a serious venture and, ironically, by the time you get to “Shining”, you can feel yourself starting to like these intriguing weirdos and taking the whole thing seriously yourself!
With chunky grooves – the kind that are custom-built to appeal to horror punks, metalheads and grungers alike – this Danzig meets Primus mash-up is consistently confusing but never fails to leave you stupefied; left in stunned silence yet grinning from ear to ear.
Atomic Kavemen are bringing their prehistoric garage rock to the masses in 2019, far beyond the Oakland cave from whence they came! We’re just not convinced they shouldn’t have stayed there. 6/10
Atomic Kavemen is out now.