You know, I dig Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard just as much as the next guy, and there have been a lot of really good bands that have popped up in the last few years in that same vein, but sweet jeebus do I appreciate it when a promo hits my inbox from a stoner rock band that draws their inspiration from other sources. Southern Louisiana quintet Vermilion Whiskey is one of those bands. Their most recent album Spirit of Tradition is a hard-rocking distillation (sorry – I couldn’t resist) of Pepper-era Corrosion of Conformity, the first Down album, and the mighty Lynynrd Skynyrd that goes down smooth while totally kicking your ass. This is the good shit, no doubt.
The thing that immediately jumps out about this record is how much swagger this band plays with. Guitarists Ross Brown and Carl Stevens have riffs for days, and the rhythm section of bassist Jeremy Foret and drummer Buck Andrus fall into such deep grooves behind them that the whole album has an air of effortlessness about it – like they’re knocking your dick into the dirt without even breaking a sweat. Add in some tasty lead guitar work and the bluesy rasp of vocalist Thaddeus Riordan, and you’ve got the recipe for a damn good time. There’s not really a bum track on the relatively brief six-song record, but a couple of tracks do stand out. The slow building “Come Find Me” has the same kind of bluesy stomp as a band like Humble Pie, and features a really nice twin guitar lead break. The titanic opening riff to “Monolith” has an almost grunge feel to it, before it seamlessly transitions into a bluesy shuffle. Album highlight “One Night” doubles down on the Skynyrd influence in the main riff, and probably has the best lead guitar work on the album.
It’s also worth mentioning that Spirit of Tradition sounds fantastic, thanks to the mix by Kent Stump of Wo Fat and mastering by Tony Reed of Mos Generator. If you dig either of those bands, or if you prefer your stoner metal a little country fried, you’re going to find a lot to like about Vermilion Whiskey.
Spirit of Tradition is available from the Vermilion Whiskey Bandcamp page.