Artist:  Big Ball
   Title: Hotter Than Hell
   Label: AFM Records

Just where would half of the new bands be if it wasn't for the original one AC/DC?  Granted, Rose Tattoo and Airbourne are also bands to be reckoned with as they are also the real deal, but c'mon, surely enough is enough!

Trying their hardest to join the ranks of the hard hittin', riff rockin' bar room rock n' roll club are Germany's own Big Ball.  They do have those blues / rock anthems by the dozen, no more than on 'Double Demon', where is could have been placed on any AC/DC album of the last 20 years or so, it's so close to home. 'Porna Lisa' again does it to a tee and unashamedly so, so where is the problem?

It has to be said, vocalist / guitarist Thomas Gurrath's vocals sound as if he's raw and in pain most of the time, a wee bit over the top in the growling department.  Imagine Brian Johnson on helium being strangled and you're almost there!

'Big Ball Crew' for all its foot stomping attack on the ears is just a tad too painful to listen to after a while because of this, and 'Killdozer' is on the verge of being indecipherable.

The band head off into Motley Crue mode on 'Freefire Zone', turning to a heavier sound where Gurrath's voice suddenly sounds more suited to those slicing guitars and belting drums.  It's also the same on 'Riding With The Devil', that harder, faster style right up his street as they say.

If there is ever a competition for song title of 2010, then 'Hell Whores & High Heels' has got to be a contender for the title.  It's swaggering beat is as catchy as they come, but for those of straight-laced position in life, the last line that is spat out with some venom is not for you, nor is it a song for the ladies out there either.

'Hotter Than Hell' may have the same title as one by a certain make-up clad American superhero and, but that's where the similarity ends.  This version is a bit more bear the knuckle putting it bluntly.  Big Balls they may have when it comes to a certain type of woman, and I guess Mr Simmons would really have loved to write this version of the song instead of leaving it to his old pal Mr Stanley.

'Shooter' and 'Plugged In' could easily be two songs in one, the first being a mid paced, choppy guitar track leading directly into the faster groove section of the second, they are almost identical bar the tempo.

Gurrath comes across as a man on the edge of insanity on 'Wrecking Ball', his hoarse, yet quietly controlled growl giving a sense that he's about to do a "Tasmanian Devil" at any moment.  Fortunately the rhythmic drumming and bass seem to help keep his control.

Another corker of a title, 'Groove Monster Machine' can't help the fact that it seems Big Ball could end up being a one trick pony, at least with this album.  With the style of vocals you get, it's going to be hard for the band to try their hand at a different area in rock, unless its the heavier, darker side.  With song titles they come up with, that shouldn't really be hard to do, as I don't think they'd match the melodic style too much.

'Hotter Than Hell' is far from being a bad album, as musically it's a perfect head-banging, foot stomping affair, it's just that there are one or two acts out there now getting a name for themselves doing the same thing.  Are fans going to grow tired by it all soon, who knows?  An could Big Ball end up banging their heads against a brick wall trying to get themselves noticed along with all the others??

Review by: Bob Baldwin


1. Double Demon
2. Porna Lisa
3. Big Ball Crew
4. Killdozer
5. Freefire Zone
6. Hell Whores & High Heels
7. Hotter Than Hell
8. Shooter
9. Plugged In
10. Wrecking Ball
11. Groove Monster Machine
12. Rock N' Roll Stomper
13. Riding With The Devil



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