A new band to us, Vermilion Whiskey can lay claim to playing geographically correct Southern rock, being as they are from Louisiana. With one release already out – 2013’s 10 South – they release Spirit of Tradition this February… and it’s going to make some noise.
With only six tracks, this feels more like an extended EP but what it lacks in length it makes up for in quality. The tones are as heavy as the sun on a chain-gang’s back and the riffs as dirty as water dredged up from the bottom of the bayou. The songs vary from head-nodders to fist-pumpers, but what they all have in common is that they each hold a passport which won’t let them north of the Mason Dixon line.
Opener “Road King” is a belter. A real chugging number that gets the blood pumping. Throaty vocals from Thaddeus Riordan ride over the rhythmic waves courtesy of Jeremy Foret (bass) and Buck Andrus (drums). Ross Brown and Carl Stevens chop and change roles on guitar with some simply, hook-laden riffs and occasional lead flurries.
“The Past Is Dead” starts off quite bright but ends up being a ridiculously heavy slab, though still containing some nice, catchy riffage and a bridge section which actively demands you to jump up and down with a fantastic guitar break towards the end. Possibly the best track of the half dozen.
There’s something about “Come Find Me” that reminds me of Black Sabbath, particularly towards the end. A slow burner, it starts off very slowly indeed but builds nicely as it goes. “Monolith” is as heavy as its name suggests, while “One Night” is something you could almost dance to. Imagine Black Stone Cherry with their guitars tuned down an octave (not quite as far as H-flat, but close) and you’re getting there.
Everything is rounded off with “Loaded Up”, overall a fast-paced way to finish things despite a slow midsection just in case you want to get a beer in.
Spirit of Tradition is as stereotypical a hunk of southern metal as you could hope to find, with no pretentions of being anything else. And why should it? It’s good fun, it sounds like something that would go down well live and – at 6 tracks – it’s just that little too short so you have to give it just one more listen.
Spirit of Tradition is out on February 17th