Durel Yates: Guitar, Vocals
Danny Nick: Bass, Vocals
Andrew Preen: Drums
Recorded and mixed by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios, Allston, MA.
Produced by Benny Grotto, Suplecs, and Scott Hamilton.
Mastered Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio, Ann Arbor, MI.
Artwork and design by Alexander Von Wieding.
All Songs written by Suplecs.
Durel Yates and Danny Nick are proudly endorsed by Semour Duncan.
Here we have the new Suplecs record. They have been around since 1996 and this is their 4th album called Mad Oak Redoux. The story of this band is incredible. After their 2nd album Sad Songs...Better Days the record company Man’s Ruin Records went bankrupt. After this setback the band recorded their 3th album Powtin’on the Outside, Pawty on the Inside. All seemed well again until nature intervened. Hurricane Katrina damn near wiped the band of planet Earth, but since I am now listening to their 4th album Mad Oak Redoux it’ll take more than catastrophic property loss to deter the guys of Suplecs. Seen in that light the lyrics of Fema Man speaks for themselves:
And the water came up
And our city went down
We all looked for the government
There’s no government around
I speak the truth
And it ain’t that pretty
Cuz on August 29
We all died a little bit for our city
I used to live Big Easy
Now living got hard
So it took five long years to climb out of the hole that that damned hurricane left, but Suplecs is back on track again. With their straight on southern rock Suplecs can fill the hearts of many rockers. The album has 10 great tracks with space for every individual band member. From Andrew Preen on drums till Durel Yates on guitar (vocals) and Danny Nick on bass guitar (also vocals), they all have the space to express themselves on this so important album for Suplecs. For me the best tracks are 2x4, Fema Man and Coward. Straight on southern rock from New Orleans with influences from Fu Manchu, Queens of the Stone Age and their own life experiences. Suplecs has delivered a very nice album that I highly recommend to lovers of this genre. Go check them out here: www.myspace.com/suplecs .
Rating: 79 /100
To be honest with you, I don’t know much about New Orleans except for a few jazz artists that have emerged from there. I’ve also heard of the terrible Katrina hurricane, I guess. New Orleans is the spot of the subject in this review, though, so I did a little research on it. Susplecs seem to have gathered the raw energy of their home city and brought it all together in a collection of songs they call Powtin’ on the Outside Pawty on the Inside released in 2005 on Nocturnal Records.
If this album succeeded in capturing the raw energy, anger, and other states of mind caused by the aforementioned catastrophe, with Mad Oak Redoux they are going to the next level, letting their experience do the talking. The band has kept the punk rock attitude that built up the previous album, but this time they were much freer with the experimentation, and it’s showed through the album’s forty minutes. The angst remains the same, but there is certainly much more hidden behind the mask of anger.
As for the label, punk rock isn’t really valid for describing this work. The band recalls a variety of elements from their past records, especially the fuzziness of Wrestlin’ with My Lady Friend released in 2000. Musically, this is the band’s most mature album and the progress is evident when compared to their previous works. The closest reference to any other bands or musicians Susplecs gives is Brant Bjork. I cannot tell about how much these peeps from New Orleans have been inspired by Bjork, but this is strictly a personal take on the music itself. Fema Man and Tried to Build an Engine are the closest examples for that. The opening Stand Alone feels like a song of hope, giving sparks of optimism through the chorus. Worlds on Fire is a short, punkish track, and together with Stepped On comes as the most punk-oriented piece off the album. 2×4 has nothing to do with Metallica song of the same name, and stylistically is the closest to the band’s earlier works, which are psychedelic, spacy and much fuzzier. Maybe for that reason I find this piece the most interesting. The bluesy overture of In Your Shadow explodes with a riff, setting a pace for a much more metal mood, while the aforementioned Stepped On could be easily described as something Jimi Hendrix would play if he played punk. While there’s apparent influence from blues and stoner rock with punk motifs in Coward, the closing Switchblade is a truly thick sludge moment.
There is nothing epochal in Mad Oak Redoux, nor has the band ever shown an urge for breaking any barriers, they have simply kept what they feel and from that reason this is probably their most valuable release. The maxim “with age comes experience” is proven once again.
- Nikola Savic
I’ve been neglecting my pile of recent Small Stone releases lately. They’ve been sitting here for a few weeks now and every time I try to get around to writing them the demands of reality (ugh!) demand my attention and another day slips by. But not anymore! Here a triple decker of new stuff from the unusually consistent rock label.
First up is the new one from Suplecs called Mad Oak Redoux. This New Orleans outfit has been going for about 15 years and show no signs of mellowing out. I’d never heard these guys before and really enjoyed their mix of classic influences like Black Sabbath and The Misfits merged with Soundgarden, Melvins and Nirvana. About half the songs are short and fast and they stretch out on some of the longer ones. “Stand Alone” reminds me a lot of forgotten Louisville titans Kinghorse with their mix of Sabotage-era Sabbath riffs with a big Danziggy chorus. “Fema Man” is a suitably pissed off song about hurricane Katrina and all the bullshit that went on afterwards. “Switchblade” and “2x4” are the longest songs, about 6 minutes each, and pound heavy. 10 songs, 40 minutes. Hit and quit it. Nice one.
It seems as if SUPLECS remained a kind of well-kept secret among fans of heavy music even though they are located in New Orleans. Furthermore Man's Ruin Records released the first two albums at the beginning of the last decade but nonetheless there was not much talk about SUPLECS during the last years. But this will probably soon change, because Small Stone Records have picked up the band and released their fourth studio album named 'Mad Oak Redoux' in 2011. One thing is certain: a lot has happened since the old days. 'Mad Oak Redoux' is unexpectedly multilayered and the band doesn't guite go with the full-scale frontal assault that characterizes the early albums. Of course there are a range of weighty riffs as well and especially songs such as 'Stand Alone' or 'Tried to Build An Engine' remind me of former times.
But then there are songs like 'Once Again' and 'Worlds On Fire', where the band starts to blend their riff-based world with indie rock and poppy hooks. That may perhaps sound a bit awful, but I think that this tracks are among best ones on 'Mad Oak Redoux'. Firstly, because the combination of this different styles workes very well here, but also because SUPLECS are capable of writing irresistibly charming melodies. However, 'Switchblade' wil give pleasure to all those who are hungry for crushing doom-tinged southern metal whereas 'Coward' sounds too much like Fu Manchu. But I am more impressed by '2 x 4' that alternates between psychedelic parts and driving guitar riffs.
Nevertheless, I will confess that I have my problems with the vocal style of guitarist Dural Yates. This is not the case in every song, but particularly in 'Fema Man' where his rap-like style is reminiscent of the vocalists from alll the horrible crossover bands that were very much in fashion in the 1990's (glad it's all over). Fortunately, Dural Yates changes his style during the other songs because actually he is a solid raw sounding vocalist and has no need to transform to a pseudo-microphone checker. But it's the only flaw in this otherwise very enjoyable album. 'Mad Oak Redoux' is not overflowing with thick, hefty, metal-influenced rock riffs, and solos, but rather provides an effective dark mixture of heavy riff power, emotional depth, memorable songs and crunching rhythms. To summarize, SUPLECS crafted a fine album, that sticks out of the mass.
t seems you can't keep a good band down. 15 years into their career Suplecs have spent 5 years fighting back from the devastation caused to their hometown of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina to drop this, their fourth album and first for the home of all things fuzzy, Small Stone.
Much as New Orleans itself is a mish mash of cultures so are Suplecs, a bold combination of musical styles all kept dry from the impending rain under the umbrella of stoner rock. This is no more evident than in the opening one-two punch of "Stand Up" with its galloping, Iron Maiden style rhythms and "Fema Man" which somehow manages to tip its hat towards some mid 90's Nu-Metal/rap crossover under the thick layers of fuzz...and somehow they manage to make it sound pretty damn decent...and I never thought I would ever use the terms Nu Metal and decent in the same breath!!!
Just as we've got used to Suplecs' chest beating thunderous heaviness they turn on a dime and hit us with some grungy punk with "Once Again" which softens the macho attack of the previous two tracks with a greater level of melody and restraint to show they are certainly no one trick pony. There is so much to this band to be discovered...only three tracks in and I'm intrigued by what's to come next!!! "Tried To Build An Engine" retains some of the grunge vibe coming across like a bizarre hybrid of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Fu Manchu...yeah I know this doesn't sound like a combination that would work but trust me, it does as the band switch from an understated verse complete with distorted vocals to a behemoth riff of stoner goodness that plays out the rest of the song.
"Worlds on Fire" sounds like the kind of song the Foo Fighters should be writing instead of being lame pop stars trading on Grohl's cheeky charm!!! Short, sharp and effective the punky riff ‘n' rhythm back up a vocal that's catchier than a cold sore at a teen party!!! So far it's all been pretty upbeat so this is the point that Suplecs decide to go all epic on our asses with the ebb and flow of "2x4" which drifts from understated ambient melodies to majestic walls of THC riddled fuzz before pulling the rig from under your stoned feet and galloping to the climax in fine Sabbath meets Judas Priest style.
So you want something that sounds like a cross between Alabama Thunderpussy, The Allman Brothers and the Pixies? Well let's see what Suplecs have in their ass pocket for you...here it is, "In Your Shadow". This tune features an ugly yet melodic vocal and a subtle southern vibe yet the "oh oh" backing vocals hit you with a big dose of "Doolittle" era Pixies!!! Bet you never thought you'd have these bands mentioned together in a review did ya!!!! It's ok though as "Stepped On" brings things back to normality with a supercharged piece of kick-ass slacker stoner pop and roll...not a million miles from Fu Manchu but somehow a touch more satisfying.
By now you're probably in the mood for some hairy backed stoner riffing right? Just as well as "Coward" is here to deliver...big of groove and fuzzier than a Spanish woman's top lip!!! The Fu Manchu comparisons rear their head again in the lazy vocalising that speaks of years of queuing at the all night store for munchies after an evening on the weed!!! By the time the band get to the final track they seem to realise that they've forgotten to throw any good old fashioned doom into their heavy rocking gumbo and bring the pace right down for "Switchblade" which, for all it's powerhouse fuzz and crawling rhythms retains a welcome bluesy southern vibe...again not a million miles from Alabama Thunderpussy.
Sometimes you can put an album on and by halfway through you've pretty much heard all the band has to offer but not so with Suplecs as they deliver a 10 song lesson in the history of rock and roll. Listening to this album is a little like eating a bag of Jelly Beans without the flavour chart...you never really know what you're going to pull out but some of it sure does taste sweet!!! Suplecs are back and keeping the Small Stone reputation intact!!!
- Ollie Stygall
Like most of New Orleans' inhabitants, the members of stoner rock trio Suplecs suffered a slew of personal traumas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, almost collectively biting the big one in the process. But they resolutely hung on, reunited, rebuilt, and finally emerged to fight another day some five years later, foisting their fourth album, 2010's Mad Oak Redoux, in the process. Not only that, they also proceeded to chronicle their experiences in this latest batch of songs, including, among others, "Stand Alone," "2x4," "Coward," and "FEMA Man," boasting the clever verse "I just thank the good Lord above I got good friends in Austin, Texas." This development is quite the eye-opener for a band previously known for singing obsessively about professional wrestling and getting baked out of their minds. Of course, musically speaking, Suplecs have lost none of their thunderous riffage ("Tried to Build an Engine"), frequently frenzied tempos ("Stepped On"), or their menacing, "whatchu lookin' at" glare ("Switchblade"), but they have broadened into significantly more melodic territory with cuts like "Once Again" and "World's on Fire" while bringing very unexpected alternative rock nuances and hooks to the excellent "In Your Shadow." And for a band whose only sin early in their career was sonic predictability (even though the songwriting itself was always top-shelf), these slight alterations across the board only help open new doors for Suplecs to take their career in the future. Here's hoping they don't have to endure another major natural disaster in order to do so.
- Eduardo Rivadavia
New Orleans ain’t all about migraine metal, zydeco and Treme soundtrack music (not that there’s a thing wrong with any of those things). The city on the bayou is also home to the mighty Suplecs, a power trio with a rocket in its pocket and a boozy grin on its face. Mad Oak Redoux, the band’s fourth album (and first in several years), reasserts the group’s ability to balance groove and volume, thumping foreheads with metallic bruisers Stand Alone, Stepped On and Switchblade. But there’s as much brain as brawn in Suplecs’ approach – give a spin to Worlds On Fire, which switches from Motorhead choogle to haunted chorus, or the moody space metal of 2 x 4, or Once Again, which saturates the clamor with bluesy soul. Better still check out FEMA Man, a snarky paean to forced relocation delivered in a hip-hop/stoner rock hybrid that should give the Beastie Boys a few new ideas. All told, Suplecs reaches a whole new level on Mad Oak Redoux, its most varied, creative LP.
- Michael Toland
New Orleans Suplecs have been pummeling the minds of Louisiana’s rock contingent with their brand of southern rock-meets-metal since the mid 90s.
By gaining notoriety in stoner rock circles, with the release of their third album Powtin’ on the Outside, Pawty on the Inside back in 2004, the trio’s future looked bright.
However, the devastating impact that Hurricane Katrina had on the Crescent City, threatened to dismantle the southern rockers in their prime. Desperate not to let Katrina swallow up their potential, Suplecs’ never-say-die attitude has seen them come back stronger than ever, and in doing so, they have recorded their best album to date.
Mad Oak Redoux, is a soulful mix of crunching hard rock that documents their post-Katrina angst with level-headed maturity and riotous melodies.
Joint-vocalist and guitarist Durel Yates, serves up a furious riff gauntlet, as he and Danny Nick’s vocals stand above the impervious bed of rock that lies beneath.
Suplecs along with Down, have kept New Orleans’ rock and metal heart beating five years on from the tragedy. Mad Oak Redoux will help to replant NOLA’s proud southern rock roots.
After having spent the better part of the last fourteen years putting albums out on Man’s Ruin and Nocturnal Records, New Orleans’ Suplecs have been picked up by Small Stone for the release of Mad Oak Redoux, a grumbling, boozy stoner rock record with its most notable highlights including post-Katrina aggression (a loose lyrical theme throughout, but most evident on “Fema Man”) and a casually heavy sound that runs the gamut from Southern swamp n’ roll (“In Your Shadow”) to grungy alt-rock (“Once Again” and “Worlds on Fire”) to down-home doom (“Switchblade”). Listen, the riffs on Mad Oak Redoux aren’t gonna overwhelm you, but their fighting spirit, when combined with a shot of something hard, ought to at least comfort you at the end of a long, hot working day.
While some other New Orleans bands took to the skies and fled to gallivant drunkenly on European tours in the devastated aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — maybe even going so far as to document it on recently-released DVDs; as if to flaunt how quick they were, when shit got rough, to abandon the town after which they may or may not have, say, named their first album — Suplecs, never as commercially viable, never as dominant in the press, never selling out big halls, were right fucking in it. Having their shit stolen. Having the walls of their practice space come down. Having to deal with it not as a band, but as people. Wondering where each other were. Not wanting to, but having to leave.
I remember interviewing Suplecs bassist/vocalist Danny Nick late in 2005 when they put out Powtin’ on the Outside Pawty on the Inside on Nocturnal Records, and the trauma was palpable. If that album was just trying to cope with what happened to the band and its individual members, then their new offering on Small Stone, Mad Oak Redoux, is a look at their experience from some distance and perspective. There’s some anger — “FEMA Man,” “World’s on Fire” — some disappointment — “Try to Build an Engine” — and an almost defiant spirit of strength, which comes out right away in opener “Stand Alone.” On that track and the later “Stepped On,” Suplecs lets their punk roots through, “Stand Alone” offering the title line in the chorus for one of Mad Oak Redoux’s most memorable and urgent excerpts. Hearing it from these guys, I believe it, just like I believe it when either Nick or guitarist Durel Yates — who also handles vocals — confesses “I just thank the good lord above I got good friends in Austin, Texas” on “FEMA Man.”
Mad Oak Redoux isn’t all punk and Katrina-fueled angst. On centerpiece cut, “Hawgjaw,” the trio harkens back to their earlier, fuzzier days of albums like Wrestlin’ with My Lady Friend (2000) and Sad Songs… Better Days (2002) blending in a newfound sonic spaciousness and eventually grounding the track in some appreciably complex licks from Yates, drummer Andrew Preen having no problem matching his meter and force to any of the styles the song adopts. And there are several. Suplecs has never been an especially ambitious or groundbreaking band, but Mad Oak Redoux has moments of genuine intricacy, and “Hawgjaw,” which remains instrumental for its majority and only brings in vocals toward the end, is one of them. Just exactly what is the song’s relation to the Eyehategod side-project of the same name (who spell it as two words: Hawg Jaw), I don’t know.
Moodier elements showing in “Once Again” and the Roadsaw-esque (particularly the vocals) “In Your Shadow” offset Mad Oak Redoux’s more assaulting passages, but I don’t know if anything could have prepared me for the genuine aggro-sludge that comprises “Switchblade.” “Coward,” immediately preceding, is somewhat darker than most of the material earlier on Mad Oak Redoux, but “Switchblade” comes on like the evil twin of “Rock Bottom” from Sad Songs… Better Days. Yates’ riffing and Nick’s rumble — hell, Preen’s crash too — make the song a highlight, but the mood is oppressive and more metallic than I think I’ve ever heard from Suplecs, twisting their bluesy roots and prior easygoing attitude around hard-hitting performances and bombshell aural viscosity.
They don’t end on that note. Instead, closing with a cover of “Cissy Strut” from New Orleans funk originals The Meters’ 1969 self-titled debut, Suplecs march out of Mad Oak Redoux (named for the studio in which it was re-recorded by the ever-vigilant Benny Grotto after first being put to tape in 2008) with the same spirit, albeit differently interpreted, they entered. Sure, it’s a groovy riff, but there’s strength in the playing, and Yates, Nick and Preen are as authentic in their delivery as one could ever hope. I won’t pretend to have any idea what road brought Suplecs to this point in their career, but on their first offering in half a decade, the band sound mature, accomplished and right at home on Small Stone. One hopes Mad Oak Redoux sparks a new era of productivity, as Suplecs has always been one of American riff rock’s most underrated bands.