DEAD MAN’S WHISKEY – In The Storm (2023)
“Island In The Storm” is the new album from DEAD MAN’S WHISKEY, a perfect showcase for one of the most exciting new British acts, a delightful slab of hard-edged rock that pushes the boundaries of heavy metal. Anyone who has seen the band in action recently will know that they are not only a fantastic live outfit, but an incredibly tight unit whose songs contain tons of hooks.
Having your album produced by Chris Clancy and Colin Richardson makes a statement from the start. These guys have worked with Machine Head, Trivium, Massive Wagons just to name a few. Unsurprisingly, “Island In The Storm” is a slick, polished 12 track release, but still has the edge that you want your trad hard rock to have.
There are anthems galore littered through “Island In The Storm” since the opening song ‘Masquerade’ (that follows an atmospheric ‘intro’). Stand it next to the fist punching ‘Do or Die’ and the frenetic drive of the title track; this is an album that is stacked full of top-quality songs.
In Nico Rogers, Dead Man’s Whiskey possess a frontman with the voice to capture the imagination of a generation. His lung capacity is impressive, and his clean, fluid vocals are amongst the best around. There’s a versatility in his style that inevitably echoes a certain Myles Kennedy at times. Listen to ‘Ravens Call’ and there are subtle echoes of the Alter Bridge main man.
That’s not to say he’s a clone because Rogers is far from it. He can bring the noise, as he does on ‘Masquerade’, and the calmer, less frenetic songs like ‘Who I Am’ just as easily. He also hits the heart strings on ‘Closer to You’, a gentle ballad which allows him to open the pipes and give a tremendous performance, with the searing solo from lead guitarist Billy Kons adding some heft.
Of course, this isn’t all Rogers. He’s backed by four solid musicians, who provide him with the necessary platform. Riffs flow like rain on songs such as the raging ‘Island in the Storm’, a real banger of a song, with added harmonies on the choruses that add the melody that makes this just a little bit special.
The engine room of James Titley and Charlie Gray is locked tight, with Elliot D’Alvarez’s chunky rhythm work locking everything down, allowing Kons free reign to show his chops. He does!
Dead Man’s Whiskey stick to the classic hard rock blueprint throughout “In the Storm”, but they do it so well that it’s impossible not to be caught in their trap. Can you avoid humming the chorus of ‘Fighting to Survive’, or the thumping ‘What’s Your Name’, both edging into generic territory, and yet both grab you and refuse to let go.
That’s what makes this band something a little more than the average hard rock band. Clean harmonies, delicious melodies, but with a hard backbone that gives them more than enough power to stand out.
By the time you get to closer ‘Fear is Cold’, it’s likely that you’ll want to press play once more. It’s that addictive.
03. Ravens Call
04. Who I Am
05. Do or Die
06. Island in the Storm
07. Fighting to Survive
08. Diggin For Fame
09. What’s Your Name
10. Closer to You
12. Fear is Cold
Nico Rogers – Vocals
Billy Kons – Lead Guitar
Elliott D’Alvarez – Rhythm Guitar
James Titley – Bass
Charlie Gray – Drums