Mostly when doing album reviews we go by release dates but when you get a personal recommendation from a PR that is so honed to your musical tastes you instantly drop what you are doing and so I bring you 100 Watt Vipers.
Two piece bands seem to be on the up at the moment and seeing two live recently supporting Clutch here in the UK my interest was peaked instantly. I pressed play immediately and as “Aces high” came blasting out the speakers the early AC/DC influence is clear to hear. A blues tipped, down on your luck anthem with some outstanding guitars and a fighting attitude.
One track in and I was hooked but with the distorted opening to “Penny in the Well” I am in heaven. Gimme some slide and I am happy and as the opening line “Ain’t Got No Ace of Spades” I realise I am sitting here on the 28th of December and the irony is not lost…100 Watt Vipers play Rock’ n ‘Roll.
The dust laden PA sound continues on “You Ain’t Gonna Take Me Down” and the sound these two boys make is massive. This took me back to that Clutch gig and the incredible performance The Picture Books put in that night. I can lay good odds this band can tie one down live and with the musicianship on show here I would love to be front row for the ear battering.
“The Bells Toll Heavy” was my first taste of the Vipers, the slide got me instantly, the lyrics rang true and the ballsy blues heart pumped blood through my veins. Check out the video if you do anything today. Simple, sonic and sublime.
With “The Thunder Cries” it goes stoner meets Sabbath. The drumming will beat your skull to a pulp and with the gap opened up in a bloody mess the vocals will eat their way from the inside out.
The acoustic is taken out on “I am the traveller” and the opening sounds as if it is straight out of Chris Cornell’s songbook. It is haunting and beautiful. DJ Riddick’s voice tell the story of a lost soul, his drumming beats in every wrong fork in the road taken and Paul Joseph’s guitars sound as if they are straight off the axe battle in the film Crossroads. This song is epic.
The Title Track “Holy Water” digs out the slide again but distorts it like the devils rapes a virgin. I could listen to that sound forever, being all guitar I really wonder what this tune is about, is it the devils juice and the hangover from hell?
With the biblical theme continuing “My Old Bible” is up next. The AC/DC feel is back and the song sounds like a battle Bon Scott may have fought time and time again…maybe if he had a bible we would still have the man here to this day.
The songs included here seem to break out the acoustic for the sad and damned and in “ No Salvation In These Fields” you feel the desperation again but as wrong as it seems I cannot stop from smiling, the music just fills your heart and no matter the story your soul will be screaming give me more.
You get a real feel that this album is a complete story, the traveller losing his way, taking to holy water, finding the bible, dealing with your tribulations in no salvation and then “After the Storm Come the Peace” as if all the bad choices and mistakes have been forgiven. There is no peace with
this song though as the heavy blues keeps coming and those guitars want to take you down a dark road.
Now fully forgiven “ We Ride On” and the rock guitar slithers you onto the road, the voice points you in the right direction and the vibe cleanses the soul like an open road in front of you. This song has all the twists and turns of my local Loch roads in Scotland, the danger is there, the turns taken way too fast and the adrenaline pumping like DJ’s drums.
In Scotland there is always a “Hard Sumer Coming Down”, the best we can hope for is warm rain but with a tune like this to keep us going we would be a lot happier. The lazy distorted vibe rolls on and by now 100 Watt Vipers are in your head and heart.
We finish with the good old slide again and “Ain’t Got No Golden Cup” winds up the album. I do not know about a golden cup but they get the award of top 5 blues/rock albums of 2018 for me. Again we have no vocals just that dusty road sound I have came to love on this album. I cannot recommend this album enough. Now excuse me whilst I go and buy their earlier albums as this is never going to be enough Vipers for me.
Review Ritchie Birnie