Review: Sons of Perdition – The Kingdom Is On Fire (2007, Gravewax Records)

Genre: Gothic Country, Traditional Country


Me and my good buddy Matt were hanging out at my old pad awhile back drinking some beers and listening to some psychobilly band’s station on Last.FM. This popped up and we damn near shit ourselves. A dark, eerie, yet oddly upbeat song told from the point of view of some southern religious nut proclaiming that his Lord craves his blood in the last moments of his life. It was love at first listen.

Sons of Perdition is the brain child of “Zebulon Whatley” who writes all of the songs, plays most of the instruments and provides most of the vocals. Referred to as “death country”, this album is full of dark, simple traditional country songs utilizing great vocal accompaniment, acoustic guitars, lap steel, violin, and simple percussion instruments sung from the point of view of an old-school southern religious zealot, probably Baptist or something.

The intro track starts off with a tambourine and a choir of Whatleys, adding in slide guitar and acoustic arpeggi, then some Injun chanting comes in. The next track, “The Party”, presents a dark tale of a man being possessed by the cannibalistic spirit of the Wendigo and hacking up everyone at his little get together. Right from the get go you can tell this is going to be a pretty upbeat record full of smiles and sunshine. Most of the tracks on this album warn you of the wrath of God, such as “There Is A Judgement” letting you know the fate of those who take their own life or “An End to All Flesh” about the coming Apocalypse. “Blood In The Valley” is another song along these lines featuring a wild sermon shouted by Lonesome Wyatt from Those Poor Bastards, another great country band. If you dig this check them out. There are also a lot of tracks that are like old folk tales, such as “Death of a Shuckster” about a man who promises a dying town life and wealth, when his promises fall short he’s murdered by the townsfolk, then God destroys the whole town to punish them. “The Legend of Saw Jones” is a tale of a surgeon who’s son is slain, so he uses necromancy to resurrect him. Unfortunately, like in Pet Sematary,  the dead aren’t a happy bunch. The creepiest track on the whole record is “Cannibals of Rotenburg”, a short, sparse track warning you not to travel to said town for you will be devoured.

This isn’t your average country record. This is pretty weird and really dark. If you dig westerns, the bible belt, tales of murder and Satan, seriously alternative country music, or anything grim sounding you’ll probably like this. If you like Tim McGraw you should steer clear of this.

Fuck you Satan! (Just kidding, love you buddy)






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