The principals are well-credentialed to unleash this sort of intense brooding. Parisian Dimi fronts his own Dimi Dero Inc, a masterfully dirty rock 'n' warped blues band that swept through Australia not so long ago and rubs shoulders on the road with people like The Drones. Dimi moonlights as drummer in Penny Ikinger's European band. Tex's other band is Iron Cobra Orchestra from Dortmund in Germany, and they came to notice in these parts on a Stagger Records tribute to Rowland S. Howard.

The pair are staggeringly good multi-instrumentalists who play everything that moves in the studio, while being helped out live by people like Brian Hooper, Lisa Barrel and Mark Steiner. That's some hired help.

When you see the word "everything" in connection with instrumentation, you can take it to mean guitars, drums, bass, a saw, vibes, percussion and an electric drill. All of which they need to deconstruct the Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman" or a dozen originals, most of which sound dark enough to hide Michael Jackson's medical records.

Napalm has a vocal thick enough to cut air with a hunting knife while Dero nails the beat like nails into a coffin lid. The rhythms are just deft enough to lift the tunes clear of the swamp-floor, whileTex's fuzz-smothered guitar work is usually dirty enough to take them right back down there.

These guys do know how to mix it up. "Gone Too Long" shudders like a freight train derailment and "Drunkard Sweetheart" has a fucked-up Stones groove that makes it pretty well irresistible. While the graveyard groan of "He Has Risen (Gonewana)" won't make my list of light listening anytime soon, the opening triple punch of the acrid "Much Much More", the four-on-the-floor overdriven "Civilized Man" and the blueswailin' "Stomp That Thang!" would send Jeffrey Lee Pierce reaching for his heart tablets.

Who said the Frogs and Germans could't co-exist? You'd cross the Maginot Line to hear this. This gem exists on vinyl LP from the folks at Beast Records and is well worth the freight.