Silver Snakes deliver an exciting and refreshingly deep album that is memorable as it is heavy. The Los Angeles post-hardcore group has moved away from their safe-yet-enjoyable blend of catchy melodies and upbeat songwriting featured on their debut album for a heavier and elegantly darker collection of songs on their new highly anticipated LP, “Year Of The Snake.”
The opening tracks “Four Crowns” and “Smokestack” perfectly juxtapose the dreary tone of the album and main songwriter Alex Estrada’s flawless sense of structure and tremendous riffs. “Smokestack” is a great song that balances between the bands sound on their debut album “Pictures Of A Floating World” with a blend of doomed out metallic post-hardcore that snakes (pun intended) its way across the 11 tracks.
Bassist Mike Trujillo delivers a solid performance in capturing the low end on the album, while drummer Daniel Pouliot (who also plays in L.A. drone-rock band Ancestors) provides a dynamic and powerful punch that allow Estrada and fellow guitarist Jeremiah Bignell to play off each other and really drive the riffs home.
“Sundance”, the first single from “Year of the Snake” has some of the heaviest riffs that Estrada has introduced in his repertoire. The track ebbs and flows between a wall of heavy guitar and dreamlike verses which features a wonderful blend of female vocals that amplify the haunting elements of the song.
“Grey Wolf Wild” and “Fox and Embers” are some of the more accessible tracks on the album, but still deliver hard-hitting riffs. Estrada’s vocals shine on “Grey Wolf Wild” and he shows impeccable balance of aggressive melody that give the songs a boost of energy. “All My Eye” is an other stand-out track that doesn’t hit as hard other song on the album but still have a lasting impact on the listener.
Estrada channels his inner Billy Corgan on two beautifully crafted acoustic tracks “Red” and “Vivora” that break through the wall of distorted guitars throughout “Year Of The Snake” and give the album some breathing room before delving again into the darkness.
The final tracks “Lock” and “In Our Bones” dance between strikingly articulated and heavy guitar arrangements and viscerally captivating lyrics, that fittingly closes out this powerhouse album.
This album is 44-minutes of dark, heavy 90’s alternative filtered through powerful and clear production compliments of Brian McTerrnan (Circa Survive, Cave In, Thrice) and Jay Mas (Defeater). The album is meant to be enjoyed as a whole, there are no weak points or filler tracks on this album, each song on here compliments the other wonderfully.
This album is a tremendous achievement for such a relatively young band. Masterfully capturing a noteworthy blend of vibrant guitar-work of bands like Brand New and Balance and Composure with the crushing doom of groups like Pallbearer and Windhand, “Year of the Snake” sets the bar high for future bands and will no undoubtedly find its place in your top 10 of 2014.