Feb. 15, 2017 11:45 AM

On their second release – Spirit of Tradition – Vermilion Whiskey carries the kick that their name implies. Their slow moving hard rock, or barely tamed metal, fits into the hard hitting, low-fi and uncomplicated genre of stoner rock with a well-worn blue collar leaning.

Full of a don't-judge-me mindset, raw edges and penchant for harder Southern sounds, Vermilion Whiskey evokes a heavier and less swanky Nashville Pussy with a harder rock/metal approach to their lyrics. Although there is a definite blue collar feel, it's not that Spirit of Tradition is about a hard day's work but has the feel that it was crafted by hard-working hands. In tracks like “One Night” there are also Southern hints that Vermilion Whiskey achieves without pandering to do so. As much as they stick to classic sounds — citing Skynyrd and Deep Purple as influences — there is a fresh edge to the guitar work and drumming. As they say on “Back in the Day,” “Don't forget what you come from and what you stand for (and) never be afraid of change.”

Unlike radio rock, it's thick and meaty with riffs that weigh more than all the members of Cage the Elephant put together — and squared. The real treasure here are the riffs and squealing guitar solos seemingly hidden midway through tracks like “Back in the Day,” “Come Find Me” and “Loaded Up.”

Without the complexity and timing changes of modern heavy metal, plus old school shred here and there, this is pure, un-watered down, high proof-by-volume hard rock.

Nick Pittman is a freelance entertainment and feature writer. To contact him, email pittmanreviews@gmail.com.

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