Silver Snakes – “Saboteur” (Evil Ink / Pelagic Records)
With an album title inspired by the Hunt Saboteurs and plenty of direct action political influences, the Silver Snakes have pulled out all the stops to create what is undoubtedly both their heaviest and also darkest album to date. Forming in 2011 when singer/guitarist Alex Estrada’s previous hardcore/crust band Cathedrals went defunct, Silver Snakes started an evolution that has incorporated many of his influences, ranging from Latin music to Godflesh and Nine Inch Nails. Indeed, this latest cycle has brought in subtle samples and beats for the first time like on ‘Charmer’, although far more stylish and not industrial enough to over shadow the hypnotically heavy riffs inspired by Trail Of The Dead, Om, Intronaut as well as 90’s Smashing Pumpkins, making for a real alt blend on the epic closer ‘Dresden’. Speaking of drive, Silver Snakes put out way more energy than most of their alt rock compadres, complete with a loud sound to this album, indicating Estrada’s hardcore roots are still very much evident when it comes to recording and at a guess, probably carrying through to their live shows. While the vocals are rock when not grunge trippy or even roaring like on ‘Red Wolf’, with a fine balance in the guitars being noisy yet audibly allowing for the melodies and solos, the rhythm takes a contrasting approach with a primal crunching bass and hard smashing drums, evidenced manifestly in the beautiful ‘Raindance’. Now signed to (Coheed and Cambria) Claudio Sanchez’s label and abstractly challenging Pelagic in Europe (The Ocean’s home), “Saboteur” gives them a more accessible product while for the band, a new market especially with their now heavier style – and I for one, hope the Silver Snakes stay that way. A highly impressive album indeed!