Danko Jones is the name of the singer-guitarist that fronts this powerful trio and also the name of the group. The band has put out a handful of records over the course of a dozen years or so, and they’re fairly big in their native Canada and in Europe. They’ve never garnered much attention in the States though, and Below the Belt is unlikely to change that, even though it rocks hard from start to finish.

The problem is that the best songs here are extremely derivative of acts like AC/DC and Van Halen, and Jones as a singer often affects a vocal strut that’s clearly patterned after David Lee Roth. About half of Below the Belt falls into this category as Jones preens and crows vocally, playing the self-obsessed stud and badass role to the hilt. The other half of the album features songs that are more original-sounding but also far less interesting.

The overall effort here is valiant, and the music’s ferocious tone will no doubt keep a live audience riveted, but there’s not much on Below the Belt that’ll demand repeat listens. A couple of spins, and this one will get tossed or forgotten.

Grade: C



Below the Belt is currently available.