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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Reviews: Venrez, WhiskeyDick, Defy All Reason

Venrez: Children Of The Drones (Monarch Music Group)

Some of you might remember that I reviewed Venrez's second album American Illusion in the early days of this blog and I was impressed by the band then, well luckily very little has changed on their third album the band are still purveyors of psychedelic, reverb driven hard rock that is part Alice In Chains part Wylde-era Ozzy. Once again the album lyricism focuses on the government, the failures of modern life and how much everything sucks really, still they do it backed by some muscular guitar work played deftly with low and slow guitar work from Jason Womack on Mist Of Mercy and Refelction. Womack also adds the spiralling keys on Devil's Due and being the band's secret weapon he not only provides the riffage on album with Salvation and title track he is also the primary provider of the bands sonic assault handling the drums and bass on the album too. So with the music taken care of it's up to front man Venrez to provide his unique vocals to proceedings part Ozzy part Layne Staley his drawl punctuates the great musical backing. As a man who has spent a lot of his life a Hollywood producer, starting a band late in life can be a risk but with three albums under his belt he is going from strength to strength, a great album for fans of chunky, alternative rock. 7/10

WhiskeyDick: Welcome To Yeehaw Country (Yeehaw Records)

Texans WhiskeyDick have been doing the rounds for a while now and with their regular tours of the UK they are starting to make a name for themselves here across the pond. This album is a compilation of their finest songs compiled as an accompaniment to their greatly deserved European headline tour. Happily I've had the pleasure of seeing WhiskeyDick twice now and I also have nearly all of their albums so it was nice to have this collection of songs all on one disc giving newer fans a chance to hear all their live staples in one place. WhiskeyDick are made up of two men Rev Johnson on lead acoustic guitar and Fritz on rhythm acoustic guitar and vocals, see that I said acoustic guitar as there is no room for electric axes in WhiskeyDick they ply their trade in down home, acoustic hillbilly country metal. Redemption kicks things off with a train-like chug and some blues harp honking throughout, this is followed by the live staple  Train Robbin', Gun Toting, Dope Smoking, Guitar Pickin', Motherfuckin', Guitar Band (which was written in 1865 apparently) the joyous nature of Train Robbin'... is followed by the heavyweight YEEHAW! which sees Fitz going from his booming normal voice to a low shout on the chorus, this is most metallic song on the album and along with 18 Wheels Of Hell (acoustic thrash) and Drunk As Hell they show the band have some serious country metal song writing chops. The band evoke the spirit of David Allen Coe, (Frtiz vocals especially) Black Label Society and Pantera who are the bands primary influence with tributes to their fallen axeman Dimebag with Black Tooth Green and Fallen Heroes both featuring some killer (pedal driven) guitar work from Johnson (especially on the epic album closer Fallen Heroes). Welcome To Yeehaw Country is the perfect album to introduce people to the brilliance of WhiskeyDick and serves a great springboard for them to get the recognition they deserve, get a beer, turn it up and Getcha Pull!! 9/10    

Defy All Reason: The Road Ahead (Self Released)

Having stormed the stage at Hammerfest 2014 Defy All Reason have now got round to releasing their debut album through Pledge Music and finally their brand of chest beating hard rock is unleashed on the masses and as Midnight Train blares out of the speakers kicking off the album you know that this Wrexham four-piece mean business with their big swaggering riffs and southern rock ethos, think Black Stone Cherry with a smidge of Shiendown mixed with the British grit of Pig Iron or Trucker Diablo, they mix gut punching power with great songwriting and catchy hooks, you will be humming Bad Blood for days. Much of the bands greatness comes from the how well they work as a band Lee Shenton and Todd Edwards' engine room is solid, hard hitting and anchors the bands sound perfectly, see You Get Me High, the twin axes of Daz and Gavin Lee Jones have the louche guitar work of Slash all fret runs and searing bluesy solos with Gavin Lee's smoky but melodic vocals just topping things of  nicely. DAR are band not adversed to the odd slower track with Finding My Way (Back To You) having the similar metallic ballad style of Alter Bridge and the more traditional fare with Behind Those Eyes and The Only One being pure syrup with their saccharine balladry that is deep in Shinedown territory, still the rest of the rest of the album is balls out, heads down hard rock and they do indeed rock like a bastard, they even do a superb cover of Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead Or Alive that has bigger cojones than Jon Bon ever had. Defy All Reason have created a hell of a debut that hopefully will set them on an upward trajectory! 8/10       

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