Louisiana natives Vermillion Whiskey probably sound just as you’d imagine now you know where they come from, but, whilst there is an undoubted familiarity to the Southern metal the band purveys, the nine tracks that make up Crimson & Stone are delivered with such vigour and vitality as to cancel out thoroughly any ‘heard it all before’ gripes.

Seriously, it’s hard to resist VW when they get their chug on, as they do in splendid, lithe n’lissome fashion on belters like Confidence, wherein the band harness their geographical legacy with devastating effect. COC locked in a fight to the death over prime riffage rights with Crowbar? We’ll ‘ave some of that!

Crucially, the band keep an eye on the listenability-ometer at all times; So, whilst their sound is undoubtedly behemothic in the extreme, tracks never become unwieldy or, perish the thought, tiresome. Everything is kept taut and flab free, and even the brace of tracks that weigh in at over six minutes in duration don’t outstay their welcome. In fact Dissonance, the second of that pair, is probably the best track on the album.

Thaddeus Riordan has the classic Southern metal howl down to a tee, and his bruising guitar partnership with Ross Brown is never less than entertaining, but the Vermillion Whiskey sound is less about individual brilliance and more about forging a foreboding wall of sound collectively. To which end, Riordan and Brown are joined by excellent bassist Jason Decou and a variety of drummers with a great deal of success.

Listening to the monolithic instrumental Interlude, it’s clear that Crimson & Stone breaks no barriers sonically, and doesn’t turn any new musical ground; But – and it’s a massive ‘but’ at that – it’s eminently listenable and, if you love any of the metal that’s emerged from the South of the US over the last couple of decades then this is going to make a very nice addition to your collection indeed.

Crimson & Stone releases on May 26th.