You’d be hard-pressed to find a musician as diverse and prolific as Hank Williams III. The latest in a line of guitar-pickin’, genre-bendin’ songwriters, Hank III (as he is known) makes good use of his new Hank3 Records imprint, showing off his incomparable wild side on one of four new releases this year, 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’, and giving birth to a new genre known as “cattlecore”.
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “What the heck is cattlecore?” Put simply, the newly minted genre is a blend of metal and actual cattle auctions, the machine-gun pace of the auctioneer’s pitch blending uncannily with Hank’s lightning-quick drumming and crunchy riffs. As such, 3 Bar Ranch functions as an “instrumental” album during its first half, with songs like “Now There’s A Bull” and “37 Heffers” being a pastiche of cows being assigned a monetary value, and Slayer-worthy angular riffs.
Not content to stop there, however, Hank ups the ante by layering his own incomprehensible vocals over the later tracks (with the auction still in full swing). Songs like “Bull Balls” feel like Pig Destroyer fell into a tub of bovine brutality, while “Square Bailor” channels classic Melvins. And, not above the humor of the situation, Hank adds a few jabs at vintage metal with “Heavy Cattle” and the hilarious “Angus Of Death.” The closest Hank gets to his original country roots here is on “Cattle Callin’ Lonesome Blues,” featuring a mean bluegrass banjo, before returning to close the auction with “Branded”.
Think Mike Patton, Zappa, and Auction Kings all rolled into one, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting yourself into. That being said, this record is NOT your ordinary metal record, so approach with caution. Fans of Hank III’s country offerings should be careful when listening. Fans of hiss experimental side, or experimental music in general, however, should not miss this one.