Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
Just how much can two men, one a vocalist/drummer (DJ Riddick) and the other, a guitarist (Paul Joseph), do between the two of them?
If you are basing your answer on the recently recorded culmination of their talents, the 13-track album ‘Holy Water‘, then you already know damn well it is a lot. If you factor in the earlier releases from the Jacksonville, Florida based duo, then good god almighty, it’s a mind-blowing body of work that speaks for itself.
Call them blues, fuzz, garage rock, minimalist, or whatever you want, it all boils down to rock ‘n roll with 100 WATT VIPERS. Their avalanche of Americana-infused music is powerful, it is emotional, straightforward, and strikes like a lightning bolt in the deepest recesses of your soul.
Myriad other descriptive words and terms can be applied to 100WV too, everything from “heavy” to “harrowing” as they ratchet out their intense transmissions of the bluest collar rock. From the uptempo, driving devil-may-care punch of the introductory cut, “Aces High“, to the life mantra reaffirming “You Ain’t Gonna Take Me Down“, there is always an ever-present rebellious statement in this music.
It belies the empowerment of the individual, the Do Or Die ethos of the indomitable human spirit that refuses to submit or be conquered. The profound reaffirmations ensconced in such songs as “I Am The Traveler“, “After The Storm Comes Peace“, or “Hard Summer Coming Down“, establish the truth that no matter what comes his way, our imagined protagonist will persevere.
There is an undeniable spiritual element to many of these songs, something that has been true for all the output from 100 WATT VIPERS, past and present. The pair doesn’t seem or seek to downplay that reality. Just look at the album’s title (and the instrumental title track, too), “Holy Water“. Then there are other such blatant titles like “My Old Bible” or the backwoods Delta Blues-tinged “No Salvation In These Fields“, each repeatedly renounces self-condemnation, while guitar riffs resonate and piercing drums punch the atmosphere.
The latter, “No Salvation In These Fields“, has quickly become one of my personal favorites from this recording. Its semi-stripped down contents really set a mood, its’ guitars, both acoustic and electrified, have a visceral effect upon the listener, or at least they do on me. But, that is pretty much true for all the aural offerings from 100 WATT VIPERS… don’t fight it.
Dive into the ‘Holy Water‘ album from 100 WATT VIPERS in our review’s stream or set a course for it over at Bandcamp [LINK] where it is streaming and available to purchase.