Greatest Hits II by Molly Hatchet (SPV / Steamhammer)
Based out of the same Southern Rock scene that brought the world such acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet has found a grand and glorious appeal all across the board – with fans ranging from the pure traditionalists as well as the diehard heavy metal fanatics. In this, their Greatest Hits II collection, ones sees a the heavy metal influence woven into the much revered Southern tapestries presented by these Jacksonville greats.
Now celebrating their 35th year in existence, chapter two of the great Molly Hatchet legacy actually began with 1996’s Devil’s Canyon, which would see the departure of long time singer Danny Joe Brown and the introduction of a new front man Phil McCormack. While these years were rough times for the band in regards to a consistent lineup and various threatened legalities, the true spirit of the South raged on through the prolific output and a genuine passion band leader Bobby Ingram possessed for the Molly Hatchet legacy. Devil’s Canyon was a dynamic comeback and there would be four compelling studio albums to follow, all showcased here on the Greatest Hits II.
Disc 1 kicks off on a majestic, wildly celebratory note with the anthem-like Son Of The South from Warriors Of The Rainbow Bridge – a sheer triumph that resonates within your spirit long after the song concludes. Another highlight, Heart Of The USA from Devil’s Canyon chugs at the listener with a sense of pride and conviction.
Fall Of The Peacemakers from Silent Reign Of Heroes is sweeping and epic in scope, showing just how powerful the Molly Hatchet experience can be. Safe In My Skin is a wildly infectious modern day rocker from their latest studio album Justice that is a true grand slam for the band – featuring powerhouse vocals Phil McCormack.
Rainbow Bridge remains one of the most poignant songs the band has ever recorded, inspired by the tragic loss of guitarist Bobby Ingram’s wife. A remarkable tribute to the human condition that is staggering to behold.
Cornbread Mafia from Kingdom Of XII has a brilliant, boogie-woogie classic rock feel that is both mischievous and endearing. Mississippi Moondog from Silent Reign Of Heroes is timeless with its dazzling mix of sludgy guitars and haunting vocals. 14 songs in all that fans will want to revisit time and again.
Disc 2 features inspired recordings all of the Molly Hatchet favorites, performed by the current line up. Selections include such notable gems as Bounty Hunter, Beatin’ The Odds, Dreams I’ll Never See, and of course the legendary Flirtin With Disaster. And one could clearly hear that this incarnation is Molly Hatchet will rock your world like no other. They remain an exhilarating force of nature to be reckoned with.
And then closing out the collective is an unreleased track, Sacred Ground, culled from the Justice recording sessions, ending the compilation on a victorious note. When listening to the inspired songs found within Greatest Hits II, one hears a band still vibrant and impassioned, unleashing dynamic music to fans of all generations.
The current Molly Hatchet lineup consists of Phil McCormack on vocals, Bobby Ingram on guitars, Dave Hlubek on guitars, Tim Lindsey on bass, John Galvin on keyboards, and Shawn Beamer on drums. As the cover proudly states, “The South has risen again” – and may the wondrous legacy of Molly Hatchet continue to thrive for the many years to come.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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