Scott H. Biram
The Bad Testament (Bloodshot)
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., Feb. 24, 2017
Ten full-lengths into a nearly 20-year career as a monolith of punk rock blues, Austin's Scott H. Biram hardly follows a formula. Rural as hell, urban in attitude, lonesome/orn'ry/mean, The Bad Testament is a primer in sin and redemption, hard love gone wrong, and blues and country influences pushed to nasty extremes. There's plenty of his trademark busted-speaker distortion and Hasil Adkins-joins-the Sex Pistols spew, with "Trainwrecker" verging on a backwoods version of Motörhead. Yet much of this finds Biram fully utilizing his home studio, sounding at times more like a band, as on "Long Old Time." Several tunes are introduced with samples of a radio spinning through alarmist news reports or gospel preachers (foot stompin' gospel groover "True Religion"). The Bad Testament borders on the biblical, some sorta atonement for a lifetime of bad decisions.