For all we write about stunning riffs and technical proficiency, it’s often those intangible qualities—the swagger, the energy, the attitude—that matters just as much in delivering an album that truly resonates with listeners.
Heavy Roller’s eponymous debut album fits that mold perfectly. The Australian Heavy Rock act pulls inspiration from history’s greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll performers to deliver something absolutely infectious on record. I can only imagine what seeing them live does to a venue.
But Heavy Roller is also a technically proficient band, and they’ve got a knack for high-energy guitar licks and riffs. Self-described as “a bar fight between Bon Scott [AC/DC], Lemmy [Motörhead], Billy Gibbons [ZZ Top], and John Garcia [Kyuss] with Sabbath blasting through the jukebox,” Heavy Roller takes the best qualities of Classic Rock and Metal and adds the slightest dash of sandy Stoner Rock, delivering an album that should be accessible for a variety of audiences.
About Heavy Roller
Based in Brisbane, Australia, Heavy Roller is:
- Dwain Du Plessis: Vocals and Guitar
- Luke Earthling: Lead Guitar
- Gater Jamieson: Bass
- Cracker: Drums
Additional vocals were provided by Billy Boyle, Natalie Clark, and Brodie-Ann Wright. Heavy Roller was recorded and mixed by Jeff Lovejoy at Blackbox Recording Studios in Newstead, a suburb of Brisbane. The album was mastered by Matthew Gray. The front cover photography was provided by Alex Earthling, and the back cover photography was provided by Liz Saunders.
Heavy Roller Album Review
Track 1 – Heavy Roller
Appropriately, “Heavy Roller” kicks off with a roaring engine, which is the sound of guitarist Earthling’s ‘69 Chevelle—a sound that will return throughout the song and even at the conclusion. With the testosterone pumping, the band kicks into gear. As their eponymous song on their eponymous album, “Heavy Roller” is, in some ways, a statement about the band’s priorities: tight craftsmanship, party riffs, and energetic vocals.
Track 2 – Jug
Like “Heavy Roller,” “Jug” begins with a sample—this time with clinking glasses. Featuring a blazing riff and an intro solo that weaves like a race car, “Jug” is a fun, exciting headbanger.
Track 3 – Barfly
Within the first few notes of “Barfly,” we hear Heavy Roller paying respects to fellow countrymen AC/DC. As another high-energy Hard Rock track, “Barfly” is a party anthem worth singing along to.
Track 4 – Gettin’ By
After the breakneck speeds of “Heavy Roller,” “Jug,” and “Barfly,” “Gettin’ By” is comparatively slower, but it’s still packed with the persistent swagger of classic acts like ZZ Top. With those carefully layered female vocals, Heavy Roller show they can demonstrate a bit of a softer, artsy side while still rocking out.
Track 5 – The Raven
Like just about every song so far on Heavy Roller, “The Raven” has its own unique fingerprint: an ecstatic harmonica. Instead of relying on the intricacies of AC/DC or the persistent rumble of ZZ Top, “The Raven” packs a greater emotional punch.
Track 6 – Undead World
Right out of the gate, “Undead World” feels cinematic, which may be one reason the band ultimately chose this song to receive a full music video:
Track 7 – Scavengers Delight
Another dramatic and emotional song in the same vein as “The Raven,” “Scavengers Delight” is catchy, especially in its chorus. And with some harmonics thrown into the guitar work, there are a few dashes of additional flavor throughout the song.
Track 8 – Deceiver
“Deceiver” kicks off on a rapid-pace riff, one that will see us through much of the song. With so much reliance on speed, “Deceiver” is rightfully less than three minutes—just enough time to provide a punch and then duck out of the way for “Demon in Me.”
Track 9 – Demon in Me
One of the slower tracks on Heavy Roller, “Demon in Me” relies more on a steady bass than furious riffs to build itself up. At times, this song sounds like something straight out of the ‘90s, much in the vein of bands like Screaming Trees.
Track 10 – Burning Dollars
“Burning Dollars” shifts the album closer to its roots, kicking off the song with a lick worthy of Buckcherry. The band then rides this raucous momentum for nearly four minutes, and even seamlessly adds a beautifully written guitar solo to the fray.
Track 11 – Hellfire
In “Hellfire,” Heavy Roller gears down to focus more on emotion than the party lifestyle that inspired some of the earlier tracks. Running over six minutes, “Hellfire” is the longest track on Heavy Roller (and it occasionally feels like it), but it ends on a strong note that makes the journey worthwhile.
Track 12 – Radio
“Radio” is, not surprisingly, the most radio-friendly song on the entire album, packed with catchy riffs and plenty of attitude. Ironically, it’s also one of two songs (the other being “Barfly”) marked as explicit, and it features these tidy little lines:
Wrote a song for the radio…
Fuck that shit!
With so much pop sensibility, “Radio” is a powerful way to conclude the album, so kudos to Heavy Roller.
Final Score: 9/10
Standout Tracks: “Jug,” “Barfly,” and “Radio”
Pros: Heavy Roller is a high-octane Hard Rock band that goes well beyond its Rock ‘n’ Roll influences to deliver something deep and emotional—while still flexing plenty of songwriting muscle. The Brisbane act channels its heroes without being derivative, and that empowers them to bring plenty of fresh riffs and flourishes to the table.
Cons: If there is one complaint, it’s that the party lasts a little too long. Heavy Roller would have benefited from cutting a few tracks from the end or even injecting a ballad or interlude track into the middle. Heavy Roller is a strong album at the end of the day, but following the same mold into the 10th, 11th, and 12th tracks means fatigue starts to leak in.