Reviews roundup ~ Dead Man’s Whiskey ~ Chris Wicked ~ The Velvet SuperSloths
DEAD MAN’S WHISKEY
I vaguely recall Dead Man’s Whiskey. They released a debut in (checks) 2017 then rereleased it a couple of years later in rejigged fashion.
It was quite good in a late eighties hard rock meets melodic metal kind of way. And now they’re back. Still obsessed with the Wild West and ploughing the same furrow as before although the cover art has a Covid (sigh) twist. But what of the music.
Well “Sleep When I’m Dead” did nothing for me. It’s certainly no “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”. But then “I Am Here” arrives and it’s a wee barnstormer of a track, extremely melodic in a hard Scandirock kind of way. Me like. It also really highlights what a great singer Nico Rogers is. The title track of the EP is up next and it’s the one they’ve been punting as a quasi single in a world where there is no such thing. It’s got a bit of boogie to it and a chorus that Airbourne would kill for. With cowbell, people. Cowbell! Then it’s back to the seventies to borrow a vocoder. I’m not making this up. “Never Ever” is the tune in question and it rocks hard. Even with a vocoder solo.
Those four songs are the new ones and as Jim Steinman would almost have had it, three out of four ain’t bad. They round things off with a piano ballad, a revisited “Make You Proud”, from their first album. It’s a cracker of an EP and if they can get back out their to bring the songs to you, the ordinary people, then this should see them on their way.
Turns out that this is a solo album from Chris Wicked who, apart from having half a great name, plied his trade in now disbanded Norwegian band Malice In Wonderland. Nope, me neither.
Anyway, this solo album sees him getting his wee black book oot and calling up some Norwegian black metal besties from the likes of Gorgoroth , Taake, Gaahls Wyrd and Shining to make an album of, um, melodic electro goth pop. As you do.
I’ve no idea what he’s singing about as he’s chosen to sing in his native tongue on this debut solo album. But given that there are songs called “Raven Prince”, “Alone” and “Where Angels Fear To Tread” I’m guessing it’s not all fluffy kittens and pink ribbons. Certainly, the music is bleak and melancholy with lots of minor chords.
At time it teeters on the edge of modern alt rock which is a very bad thing but when it hovers around the melodic electro goth pop mentioned above then it’s a very good listen. He has a delicacy to his voice which really flows through the music and on the balladic “Eg Går Der Ingen Engler Våger” he’s come up with a killer song that would have had EURO HIT written all over it. Had it not been sung in Norwegian.
If the melancholy side of the late Nick Marsh is the kind of thing that takes your fancy then this will suit your purple candles right down to the ground.
THE VELVET SUPERSLOTHS
The Velvet SuperSloths
Those wacky Candians, eh. With their sense of humour. Whit’s thon aw aboot, eh? Remember Bob & Doug McKenzie? No? Good.
And so the Velvet SuperSloths. Crazy name, crazy guys. Although despite their bumph claiming they sound like “Pantera meets ZZ Top meets Korn. Defined as a groove metal/sludge/kickdowncore band. A great mix of Whiskey, Sweat, Bacon, Hot sauce and sloths”, there is little audible evidence of humour in the pounding, crushing stoner groove they have decided to dispense to you, the yearning masses.
In fact, there’s no evidence of ZZ Top either. Pantera meets CoC. Definitely. And that’s not a bad thing especially considering the vicious guitar sound they’ve conjured up. There’s lots of downtuning, a healthy appreciation of Clutch and a few wee thrashy riffs scattered hither and thither. It’s quite oppressive sounding until they decide to hit you with a Black Sabbath ballad. It’s not. But “Dead Red Moon” is an album highlight and a blistering tune that deserves to be widely heard. Banger!
A word of praise for the production as well. There’s many a major metal release that would benefit from what’s on offer here. I like it best when they get a bit dirge like so the likes of “Realms Of Death” will be listened to again.
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