‘You can’t knock us down, we won’t be denied, we were born to cheat the hangman, we aint ever gonna die.’ A message shouted loud & clear from HRH CROWS’ and UK based Black Whiskey’s song Cheat the Hangman, via their new album Dry Bones. You can almost feel the bolstering middle finger in the air as the song plays like a theme tune to the metamorphosis show of life.
Any of us who can relate to going through a life-threatening struggle can validate the strong will and testament of the power of music. Black Whiskey have found this first hand since guitarist Kevin Ingles was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago, just after their debut album release.
“Writing and recording Dry Bones was a bit of a rollercoaster for us,” says singer Simon Gordon. The band would have long periods of delays due to cancer treatment, ‘then a burst of intense activity where we would bang out 2 or 3 songs very quickly’.
Dry Bones is our invitation to follow their emotive journey; where the electric guitars spiral the ‘F**k Yous’’, and the lyrics deny life’s lemons. Full of energy, full of life is on the t-shirt! That is the sell.
Opening track Dry Bones first gains your attention with some saucy electric guitar riffs that flows nicely into some Maiden-like rock. King of the Blind leads us into early 90s with some Alice in Chains vocal inspiration. The rest of the album follows through with a blues rock edge that is not unfamiliar to Black Whiskey’s catalogue but is admittedly ‘a bit heavier than the first album’. Is this juxtaposition intentional?
This amplified sound-punch was certainly initiated by the band’s circumstances, but the album’s extension is where the band belongs. With very few takes recorded, they have managed to transport themselves into a more dynamic rock sound. But could they have explored a more heighted rock experience? You be the verdict.
Bitter Pill, Here to Stay, Time Bomb, End of the Earth are all songs that have provided an apt outlet for the disruptive journey of the band. The result – an album that gifts a strong, unified support network for anyone with a rock music passion, or an excuse to yell at the man!
Black Whiskey play HRH CROWS this coming September, and ‘Dry Bones’ is available in Signed CD, CD and Digital formats now.