Vern Daysel is a South African southern rocker bringing foot tapping tracks that make you want to dance. Blood of a Wolf is his second album, a follow up to Shootin’ the Breeze (released in 2016). Vern learnt his craft playing more than a decade of live shows, running bands, putting on tribute shows and being a hired gun for chart topping artists and international stars.
His solo career started in 2014 when he travelled all over the country with an acoustic guitar and small PA system forging his own path. Vern`s debut album Shootin` the Breeze put his music on the map with being featured in Classic Rock Magazine (UK), local TV shows, music blogs, gaining radio airplay in the US, Europe and South Africa as well as signing a European distribution deal with Lions Pride Music.
Daysel wrote, recorded, produced and played all the instruments (except for bass) on the new album. Anyone who loves the southern rocking blues of bands like Blackberry Smoke, Lynyrd Skynyrd, CCR and Aerosmith, is going to want to get their hands on Blood of a Wolf.
A bold and groovy bass line starts Blood of a Wolf which allows Vern’s vocals to shine through in this initially stripped back track. The vocals have a great gravelly quality which works well with the tone created. This is a clever track with the drums, bass and guitar adding additional texture but not overpowering the vocals.
Starting with a funky guitar Last of a Kind is one of those tracks that will get your toes tapping. The lifting riff combining with the southern rock tempo has a classic feel. This is a track that will feel familiar and is extremely catchy but the style has Daysel’s stamp on it. The track thunders along leaving you wanting more when it finishes.
Piercing guitar tones with a regulating drum beat brings Bright Lights which has a classic feel and harks back to yesteryear, it is another very catchy tune that will get you singing along in the chorus. There is a clever use of tempo allowing the richness of the vocals to seep through, adding an emotional element.
Using the drums and bass to maximum effect Roll of the Dice uses a staccato bass line to punctuate the track. The vocals reminded me of Phil Campbell (Temperance Movement) conveying emotion, with a rich, gravelly texture. Increasing the rock element in the later half of the track, the bass line adds a fat, heavy sound that allows the guitars to swoop and soar.
Good to Be Bad has its roots deeply in southern rock / country music, rolling along building in texture. The conversation between bass and lead guitar brings an instant smile to your face and is elegantly done. Changing in direction just when you start to get too comfortable, weaving complexity with a foot taping, body moving rhythm.
Moon River reminds me slightly of Blackberry Smoke but in a stripped back fashion. The lead guitar is warm and atmospheric bringing shimmers and is done with a lightness that allows the rest of the instruments to shine. The riff climbs, adding vibrancy until the end.
Letting Go uses acoustic guitars initially before deepening, providing earthy, driving riffs. Using both electric and acoustic guitars is really clever as it allows the letting go to happen within the track, seamlessly moving from one to the other whilst maintaining the feel of the track. The vocals add another level to this mix, dripping with depth and building in intensity. So Long and Goodbye has a rolling twang that is instantly recognisable. The driving bassline is punchy with the guitar cutting through with angular riffs.
Instantly placing a massive smile on your face, The Devil`s Music rocks along at a furious pace, raspy riffs, enough fuzz to keep the smile firmly in place combine with vocals that are cheeky. The drums swing with the cymbals bringing sparkles. This is a pure rock and roll track, making your feet dance.
Deep, funky bass and guitars serenade the final track of the album and what a belter it is. Sinner leads with guitars that mimic the vocals, when the track winds up in to the chorus, it will keep you begging for more. The vocals are softer with a lugubrious quality that makes this into a fabulous track, bringing complexity with sumptuous guitar work.
This is an album that will bring a huge smile to your face, spreading joy whenever it is played. It has enough intricacy to keep you wanting to hear more, whilst bringing some heard before rhythms up to date. The vocals really reminded me of Temperance Movement, gravely and rich, showing emotion when required. Anyone who likes Southern Rock or a funky, groove filled bass line should give this album a listen.