AUTOMAN.CA – Test Drive X5

AUTOMAN.CA - Test Drive X5
  • 7/10
    AUTOMAN.CA - Test Drive X5 - 7/10


Unkledunk Records
Release date: September 23, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes) Now that’s an odd name for a band. Well yes, but when you hear that this is the latest outfit from none other than Darrell DWaRf Millar of the legendary KiLLeR DWaRfs, it’ll come as no surprise.

The KiLLeR DWaRfs for the uninitiated, formed in the early 80s and featured band members all called DWaRf, a bit like the Ramones, but DWaRfs!! Between 1983 and 1992 they released five albums and took part in a number of high profile tours with the likes of Iron Maiden and Skid Row, even winning a Juno award for their single “It Doesn’t Matter,” but soon after they split only to resurface a decade or so later playing the occasional gig here and there.

Founder member and drummer Darrell DWaRf Millar, however, has kept himself busy in the music business and has launched a new venture in the shape of Joining Millar, who has abandoned the drums this time around in favor of the frontman’s role, are Adrian Caven (drums), Carleton Alexander Lockhart (guitars), and John Fenton (bass/vocals).

Any fears that Millar has taken a “Phil Collins” route from drum stool to microphone are quickly dispelled on hearing “Porno Queen,” the lead song from the 5-track Test Drive x5 CD/DVD combo set. With a title like that you can be pretty certain that this isn’t going to be something that’ll be played as the first dance at your sister’s wedding. With a sound akin to the Bon Scott fronted AC/DC in a threesome with The Rolling Stones and Electric-era The Cult, this is punchy, hard-edged, no nonsense Rock ‘n’ Roll. Not as heavy as some out there, but packed full of attitude and swagger. Just listen to the cry of “Kick Ass!!” as the Chuck Berry inspired solo explodes from the amps.

“Livin’ Bitter Better” is a more smoking, laid back Blues number, but still retains the requisite sleazy slant to keep it low down and dirty. This is the type of number that Great White used to excel at back in the 80s.

“She’s A (Manbeater)” is a mid-paced sleazeball of a number with a great Stones-inspired mid-section, while “Big Dollar” tips its hat towards The Cult’s “Wild Flower,” yet features a deliciously trashy chorus, absolutely ideal for those moments where the guitarists lurch up to the lead singers mic to deliver their gang backing vocals.

“Givin’ The Biz” has a bass lead groove that simply struts along all fancy-footed and cock-sure. Added to that is the downright dirty Blues harmonica, just to give it that final twist.

Throw in a DVD for good measure featuring some raw, unpolished, sweat-soaked live action along with some interview footage and some witty anecdotes from Millar; a look at the guitar collection of Carleton Lackhart and drummer Adrian Cavan’s acting debut as a sachet of Hellman’s Balsamic Vinegar Dressing (yes really!!), and you get one fun-packed package of ’70s influenced Blues-based sleazy Rock ‘n’ Roll.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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