Bursting right out with "Wintersong," a slice of vintage, Who-styled power-rock (right down to the chugging, jagged chord progression and over-the-top drumming), this Athens, Ohio trio could teach the entire Brit-pop movement a thing or two about what it means to make vital, tuneful, non-grungy rock'n'roll. One also detects elements of classic Americana--Husker Du, Replacements, Dream Syndicate--which means raw, ragged, burning soul. Check "Sunrise": It boils with the passion of a desperate heart intent upon murderous revenge; Chris Biester rages far more mournfully and convincingly than Bob Mould has in years, and his ragged fretwork, Pat Brown's galloping bass lines and drummer Nazz's tom-heavy beat recall Crazy Horse at its most basic and effective. Other tunes indulge freaked-out psychedelia, like the heavy, effects-ridden "M.I.B." (there's a little Hendrix or Hawkwind in all of us). The band understands the need for balance, too: a dark country waltz, "Willow Garden," and a slice of Gothic blues, "Harvest Moon," bring out the "Appalachian" side (and unless I miss my guess, further maintain the "Death" side). These days, it's hard to find a loud, angry band worth writing about, much less listening to. A.D.R., God bless 'em, turn that feeling around.
Option #70, Sept.-Oct. 1996
Genuine, kicking, loud irony-free, half-drunk, no-assembly-required rock and roll, with big raw guitars and a few rhythmic surprises, run-roughshod-over-the-audience riffs, and throat-to-heart, beet-red, grimacing singing, as if to ten people in a one-room club about to close. Of this band's earlier products, only the awesome "Firefly" single gave any hints of what they'd become. This has more tunes and fewer bells and whistles than anything out of the Ohio Rock World since Gaunt, or the Mice, or even the Pagans. It's more, and more often, like the early Moving Targets, or the grimy first-and-second album Volcano Suns than any New England record for years, and there's no straight-up rock record this year I like more.
Popwatch #8((WE LIKE TO RUN ROUGHSHOD. I DON'T KNOW IF THIS GUY HAS EVER SEEN US PERFORM BUT HE GOT THE "TEN PEOPLE IN A ONE-ROOM CLUB" PART RIGHT!
ADR's songs are ragged rock bellows, part Neil Young, part Mudhoney, partly a specific rural feel that most rock bands can never grasp… they always manage to baptize some unknowing heathens with an unchecked flow of Appalachian sludge filtered through Ampeg amplifiers and Nazz's fluent drum rolls that shove the songs over untrod hills… An overpowering wave of pain and jubilation crashing somewhere inside the triangle created by Merle Haggard, 3 a.m. thunder, and Chewbacca's outer-space punk band.
from an article by Jim Glauner, Oculus((THIS WAS WRITTEN BY SOMEONE WHOM HAS ACTUALLY SEEN US PERFORM SO HE DOES KNOW FOR A FACT THAT WE USE AMPEG AMPLIFIERS (NOT EXCLUSIVELY, MIND YOU). I REALLY LIKE THE LAST SENTENCE A LOT. CHRIS, BILL, AND I HAVE AGREED THAT THIS IS ONE OF THE MORE ACCURATE DESCRIPTIONS IN TERMS OF HOW WE THINK OF OUR MUSIC.
If you take a trip down the Appalachian Trail and its neighboring states, keeping a log of different musical styles common the region, ADR is what you would have. A cross between Punk (NY), Bluegrass (KY), Folk/Country (TN), Southern College Rock (GA), and Surf (NC), ADR rewards its fans with eclectic, often deranged ditties. Especially refreshing is the backing banjo on a few of their songs. Somehow they manage to pleasantly blend a seemingly awkward instrument with slicing guitar and quick-paced drum beats.
Independent Florida Alligator, Vol. 89, #163, July 18, 1996
In some parts, Ohio perhaps, Appalachian Death Ride might be considered an alt-country band for the simple fact that Chris Biester plays the banjo and teaches young-uns 'bout Bluegrass. In other parts, say Ohio, fans of this hard rockin' garage quartet would never dream of such a comparison, instead summoning names like Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr., and Crazy Horse. It all depends on your perspective.
Austin Chronicle (Recommended List), Vol. 14, #46, July 19, 1996((WHO WROTE THIS? HOW DOES THIS PERSON KNOW THAT BIESTER "TEACHES YOUNG-UNS 'BOUT BLUEGRASS? IS IT POSSIBLE TO GLEAN THAT FROM A RECORD THAT IS MOSTLY IN A HARD ROCK VEIN? JUST CURIOUS.
Hailing from the other Athens town (the one in Ohio), Appalachian Death Ride suggestively decamps in no particular area. The fleeting presence in the sound of such icons from the past as Husker Du, Replacements, Lazy Cowgirls, Dream Syndicate and the Minutemen is merely that-fleeting– because this band has a firm grasp on what it means to be in the throes of raw, ragged, burning SOUL. One need look no further than the third track on the first ADR long-player (it follows numerous 45's and compilation cuts) entitled "Sunrise". It boils with the passion of a desperate heart intent upon murderous revenge yet simultaneously wracked with unrequited love. Chris Biester rages far more convincingly than Bob Mould has in years and his jagged fretwork, the galloping bass lines and the tom-heavy jungle beat is Crazy-Horse-like primal skree at its most basic and therefore most effective. Full tilt is the typical ADR take on rock 'n' roll, although the band understands the need for respite . A dark country waltz and a banjo-and-slide slice of gothic blues bring out the Appalachian side of the band. Nick Cave could do worse than to pick these young Ohioans as an opening act. Better yet, as a back-up band; they'd rejuvenate the old junkie more than P J Harvey, Kylie Minogue, or all of the Bad Seeds combined. And maybe give him a lesson in the dark side of Americana in the process.
Magnet #24, Aug./Sept., 1996
Appalachian Death Ride Athens, Ohio's favorite sons. Combining a huge range of musical influences into a modified hardcore package, ADR has never disappointed me live, on vinyl or (now) on their self-titled CD. The CD contains eleven songs that showcase ADR's diversity...watch for the bluegrass structures in some of their tunes. I simply can not recommend this disc highly enough!
These guys formed in Athens Ohio in (1990) as a somewhat noisy backwoods experiment and have now gelled into one the finer "heavy" rock combos around. They have made believers of Nick Solomen (Bevis Frond), Chavez, GBV, and Sonic Youth. A glorious rock album -- Fast, hard and very psy... They've constructed an album that everybody who has seen them knew they could make. It was called one of the "best hard rock albums in five years" by those know it all at Option, hailed as "maybe the most important Ohio bands since Gaunt or the Pagens ...and favorite rock record of the year" by Popwatch.
from Anyway web site
Galloping rhythms, squelching feedback, three- or four-chord changes per song, and moments that sound like R.E.M. and Pink Floyd under the musical direction of George Jones are all part of this album. A bumbling Southern-type growl leads the track "Willow Garden," which is a trip to Texas without actually having to go there. Highlights such as "Sunrise," with its gurgling bass and drums, sound like a forest filled with amazingly loud electric guitars that are shaking squirrels down from the trees. Other numbers like "St. Anthony" mix banjos and guitars, making you envision indie rock kids square-dancing at a slightly askew hoedown. Tragedy does strike though, as the band comes close to plagiarizing Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" riff on "Slick." The group also has the tendency to overindulge in its fancies, as displayed on "M.I.B.," where the guitar solo decides to rattle the listener's teeth for over half the track in wild abandonment. With its mixed bag of well-planned compositions and half-baked mental snippets, you're bound to view this release as a glass that's either half full or half empty.
~ Stephen Howell, All Music Guide
((I WILL AGREE WITH THE PART ABOUT OVERINDULGING IN FANCIES BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE HE GOT THE "ROCKIN' IN THE FREE WORLD" BIT. GENERALLY I LIKE THIS REVIEW FOR THE WAY HE DESCRIBES SONGS WITH IMAGES AS IF EACH WERE A LITTLE MOVIE OR VIGNETTE. THIS ACTUALLY COMES FAIRLY CLOSE TO THE WAY WE THINK WHEN CREATING A SONG. I THINK WE MAY HAVE RECEIVED THE R.E.M. TAG ONCE BEFORE BUT THIS IS A FIRST FOR PINK FLOYD AND GEORGE JONES. IN THIS CASE THE TAGS DON'T BOTHER ME TOO MUCH BECAUSE HE IS USING THEM IN A SYNTHETIC WAY TO DESCRIBE THE SOUND. IN MANY WAYS OUR MUSIC IS A SYNTHESIS.