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Sea Of Snakes – World On Fire Award winner

Sea Of Snakes
World On Fire
by kenn staub at 05 April 2021, 4:59 PM

SEA OF SNAKES aims “to be loud, be heavy, and do what the fuck we \[they] want” according to a press release from their label, Metal Assault Records. Though a new band, the Los Angeles-based quartet features several veterans of the stoner rock scene, including Tracy Steiger (SAUL OF TARSUS), Jim McCloskey (MOTORSICKLE), and Jeff Murray (THE SHRINE). “World On Fire,” SEA OF SNAKES’s debut EP (released April 2), is a more than successful attempt to bring the grit of influences BLACK FLAG, JUDAS PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD, and ALICE IN CHAINS to their brand of fiery sonic heaviness.

The band blasts away from the get-go on, leading off with the methodically groovy “Let The Fire Burn.” One thing becomes quickly evident; the rhythm section of Mick Coffman on bass and Murray on drums not only know what they are doing, but they do it in a highly proficient manner. They provide the heaviness at the core of each track and the foundation upon which the talented McCloskey can play his almost psychedelic guitar lines and solos. Though Steiger’s vocal stylings might not be everybody’s cup of tea, I found his from-the-gut singing to fit the band’s music perfectly, complementing their hard, sometimes sludgy, edge.

Whereas “Let The Fire Burn” is a bit methodical, SEA OF SNAKES lets the opening of “Ride The Line” rip. There’s more going on here than on the opening track, as the band switches things up, slowing down for the song’s interludes and midpoint (which is meandering, almost trippy). The best descriptor of “Son of Man” has to be HEAVY (I used the word several times in my notes on the track). Here McCloskey joins with Murray and Coffman to provide the impressive power upon which the song is rooted.

Fear Behind The Stare” has a lighter, more sparse intro; just a single guitar playing. Has the storm offered up on the previous three tracks abated? That question is answered with a resounding “NO,” when the full band unleashes a bass-driven aural assault that has an early SABBATH-like sensibility in tone and pacing. This continues on “Drink Your Teeth,” which intermittently evidences a trippy discordance that gave me the feeling of being unbalanced in the midst of a squall.

World On Fire” offers up a loud riff-based, groove-laden form of stoner rock that hits the listener with a metal blast like a crowbar up alongside the head. It leaves little doubt that SEA OF SNAKES is a hard and heavy “new” band on the block, adept at combining psychedelic-themed elements into a big, powerful foundational sound.

Musicianship: 9
Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Let The Fire Burn
2. Ride The Line
3. Son Of Man
4. Fear Behind The Stare
5. Drink Your Teeth
Tracy Steiger – Vocals
Jim McCloskey – Guitar
Mick Coffman – Bass
Jeff Murray – Drums
Record Label: Metal Assault Records


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