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Southern Gentlemen: Valley Of Fire

Southern Gentlemen: Valley Of Fire

Southern/Blues Rock/Metal
Rating: 4.0/5.0

'Valley Of Fire' is the latest and heaviest offering from Southern Gentlemen, the heavy blues-rock project (maybe now turned full-time band) of long-time metal guitarist David T. Chastain. While all fine CD's, the band's first three releases were all progressively better than their predecessors. Now with their fourth album, the Gentlemen seem to be settled into the groove they established in 2006 with 'Third Time Is The Charm;' which is certainly not a bad thing.

If you're not yet familiar with these guys, Southern Gentlemen combine blues, hard rock and metal into a pretty unique sound. The easy comparisons are usually to southern rock heavyweights like Lynard Skynard, Molly Hatchet, and ZZ Top among others. Although there's a noticeable influence from those type of groups, Southern Gentlemen really doesn't sound like anything that I've heard from those bands. With Dave Swart's thick bass lines and the chemistry between Chastain and vocalist Eric Johns, Southern Gentlemen carve out a very distinctive style. The final product sounds closer to bluesier-Ted Nugent than anything else but even that comparison is somewhat of a stretch.

Although very much in the vein of 'Third Time Is The Charm' there are a couple distinct differences. Highlights 'Valley Of Fire' and bonus track 'Eye Of The Storm,' along with 'Whiplash Girl' are more metal than anything they've released to date, but not nearly as extravagant as DTC's work with Chastain, CJSS, or his instrumentals. Lyrically the band seems to be exploring new territories as well. While most are still about women and relationships, some of these songs cover other life lessons and important topics like quality of life, whiskey drinking, and raising hell.

Southern Gentlemen excel where most bands attempting feel-good rock albums these days come across incredibly cheesy. 'Valley Of Fire' will be a nice addition to any rockers collection and a great soundtrack to your next kegger or poker party.
  - Tim Carroll

In Short

Southern Gentlemen excel where most bands attempting feel-good rock albums these days come across incredibly cheesy. 'Valley Of Fire' will be a nice addition to any rockers collection and a great soundtrack to your next kegger or poker party.

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