To this day, this record stands as a high for straight-up, no-nonsense hard rock. Plus, it has what may be the coolest cover ever. And it uses a chainsaw as a musical instrument. Effectively, I might add.
There is a strong AC/DC-tinged blues influence here. The Jackyl sound is also heavily influenced by its southern location, especially evident in Jesse James Dupree’s powerful and accent-laden voice. This is mixed with a heavy guitar tone to create a truly unique, instantly recognizable sound.
Though each and every track on this record is well-done, catchy and worthy of being a single, by far the most noticeable song is “The Lumberjack.” Its basic construction is nothing new: an elementary, clichéd blues progression played at a relaxed swing tempo. What puts it over the top is the chainsaw solo.
Yes, a chainsaw solo. A bluesy chainsaw solo, cohesive, catchy and played in time. It is recreated outstandingly at concerts.
This became a defining trait of a Jackyl record: each album since has featured a “chainsaw song.” Perhaps the only one to top “The Lumberjack,” though, was “Headed for Destruction,” from their sophomore release Push Comes to Shove. (In this track, they used a talk box to make it sound like the chainsaw was reciting the lines of the chorus.) Also, the song itself was a bit more original, with riffs instead of the cliché blues pattern. But I digress. “The Lumberjack” was unprecedented, and it forced people to listen.
The rest of the record is filled with southern rock `n’ roll attitude, minus the confederate flags of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Pantera. There are songs about booze (“Brain Drain”), sex (“Dirty Little Mind”) and all-around being a “Redneck Punk.” The uncensored 11-track version of the album culminates in the album’s one low point, the juvenile, almost comically profane “She Loves my C—.”
The tamed-down 10-track version, however, is nearly perfect: it is concise, catchy, loud and fun. Underrated as it is nowadays, it is a worthwhile addition to the CD collection of any hard rock fan. It’s highly unlikely (though they did come close with Relentless), but hopefully Jackyl will one day make another record as good as its debut.