It really feels like 2017 has been an incredible year for independent music. There has been so much creativity and passion spanning across just about every genre. To get complacent though, to think that it’s over, would be a huge mistake. No matter how impressive the soundscape has been thus far, Vern Daysel’s Blood of a Wolf is a categorically unmissable album, and here’s why.
Bursting into life with the high and organic rock and roll energy of the title track, Vern Daysel’s approach to music, songwriting, artistry, is insanely passionate and captivating from the offset. His voice and performance style have a certain shared magnetic quality. What keeps you involved thereafter is the sheer poetry and imagery of his lyricism.
Loaded at every turn with slick, stylish, memorable guitar riffs, this project offers up the raw and unquestionable energy of classic rock and roll. Last Of A Kind follows on logically from the opener, though it also presents a twist or a turn – the overall vibe comes through as partly blues or country rock and partly something much more Audioslave-inspired, in my opinion. The power of the melody, the depth of the concept and the compelling way in which the story is told, not to mention the almighty vocal performance from the leading artist. This project sees the meeting of a number of beautiful musical traits, and it gets you hooked.
Bright Lights leans a little further in that country rock direction. This project actually feels like a long-lost mix-tape from a simpler time. What’s great about it though is that you get that nostalgia, that genuine passion and infectious energy, and you also get the crisp and satisfying finish of a brand new, modern-day recording. This particular song has a certain commercial quality that gives it an end-of-season or even theme-song feel.
The chaos and boldness of hard hitting rock and roll returns for Roll Of The Dice. The intro to this song alone is superb – the instrumental build up, the detail, the intricacy and subsequent, satisfying accuracy. The switch from the lower tones to the soulful, unforgettable higher end of the hook, makes for a stunning drop that begs for you to listen more than just a couple of times. There are several songs on this project that are worthy of inclusion in the long term playlist. The writing and performances have the attitude and swagger of a Sons Of Anarchy soundtrack, and this works beautifully in the context of each story.
Good To Be Bad keeps things delightfully chaotic before evolving into a smooth and seductive country-rock offering – one that it’s fairly impossible to feel sad during. This track has such a classic feel, Vern Daysel’s voice shines with absolute brightness. You get both freshness and familiarity here, and that’s a winning combination. The blissfully creative yet professional, riff-tastic musicality continues as Moon River steps up to the stage. The strength and character of the leading guitar part alongside of the story line make for an undeniably appealing piece that keeps you locked in from start to finish.
Things take a turn for the delicately organic and exceedingly impressive as Letting Go begins to play. The unexpected prowess and skill of the acoustic guitar performance here is magical. In addition, the spacious nature of the soundscape for the first part of the song lays bare the artist’s voice in a way that lets you fully connect with and appreciate the magnificence of its tone and emotional reach. I’d say this was a definite highlight, but I was tempted to say that about every song on the project. The album as a united work of art is sincerely the best way to experience this music.
So Long And Goodbye masterfully takes on the persona of a classic or vintage rock and roll track – the kind that could play for days and days as you drive across the country with no particular intention in mind. The rhythm is hypnotic, Daysel’s voice has a similar effect – raising your mood in an instant, calming and inspiring you all at once. This track features a sensational guitar solo that leaves you hanging on intensely to every note, every slide, every bend.
The shuffle and good vibes of blues-rock surround you with The Devil’s Music. There’s a jailhouse feel to the melody and the story line, the lyrics offer honesty, realness, grit. The leading voice has a slightly different sound, something stands out, and yet everything feels perfectly at home within this collection and within the mood created by the experience thus far. Once again, another incredible hook smashes into your life and stays put for the foreseeable feature. Then comes the infamous electric guitar to lead you to the final quarter with a bang. The track offers one last reminder of the power of Vern Daysel’s songwriting, of the way he crafts his tracks in an open and free manner, yet still keeps you involved and embraced by the warmth and weight at every moment
Sinner brings the album to a close, a Whitey Morgan song you may recognise – driven by a fantastic leading bass-line and the all familiar thrash of those crisp and heavy drums. This album is phenomenal, easily up there with the best of them when it comes to engaging, gripping, authentic rock and roll. Definitely worth a download.