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Snakeblade - The Curse Award winner

Snakeblade
The Curse
by Andrew Harvey at 03 January 2022, 6:28 AM

SNAKEBLADE is actually a one man band with a young talented multi-instrumentalist named MIKE REDSTON who is the initiator behind it all. MIKE REDSTON is from Vancouver, Canada who has already made a name for himself with his EP titled THE KINGDOM from 2020 last year, he began his musical journey as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic by pursuing a solo project. His first release was also inspired by the highly acclaimed LORD OF THE RINGS, THE WITCHER, METAL GEAR SOLID and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.

THE KINGDOM being the first release by SNAKEBLADE was described as to have ‘exploded with youthful rage, delivering a pummeling of riffs, blast beats and shrieking vocals’. He has received huge appraisal for his EP but now he has finally got the chance to release what is his debut album titled THE CURSE which can be seen as ‘a bold new territory adding orchestral and electronic elements to the blackened-trashy chaos’. We kick off this album with the introductory track, titled “Destiny (Intro)” which certainly brings in orchestral elements like strings with a pizzicato effect, classical styled piano and a low pitched instrument like cello maybe or another string instrument with such a low undertone. This combined with angelic voices or choral voices is the way we are eased into the next track. “Rottened Souls” with a slow mellow rock or sludge metal feel.

The blackened thrash comes through vocals and guitar mostly. Electric guitar especially takes the lead where vocals cannot but once the vocals come in we’re launched into mass hysteria of squeamish thrash like black metal. The track is certainly dominated by the speedy rhythm of drums, guitar and bass guitar perhaps. Vocals are the icing on the cake. “Harvester” starts with spicier guitar playing and metallic changing of drums but fast with clarity. “Dreams Of Aida” opens with bells tolling and a gradual crescendo of soundscape effects before a sort of piano melody as this is very brief in duration. The next track is “The Red Mages Seduction” has more variation with guitar rhythm and focuses on thrash metal elements in drums. There is even inclusion of orchestral sounds once more before the track leads to the ongoing slaughter or assault of deafening blackened thrash metal at its best. “Foul Sorcery” is somewhat processed by digitally enhanced tools most likely done in the post production stage, perhaps mixing.

Drums set the charge for guitar to wander off in a violent cascade with vocals contributing. Orchestral parts return into the spotlight plus soundscape sound effects marked again by drums finishing off with acoustic guitar. Eclectic guitar joins briefly before the next track. “Godswood” is a nice fluctuating melody of acoustic guitar or folklore sound but it sounds like the guitar was overdubbed or processed digitally. Percussive taps or triggers like a bongo or percussive drum may be programmed to play the rhythm for the time being. Then a complete transition into the next track “Born Among” playing the double kick rhythm we haven’t heard as much. Vocals as before take the devious and ominous sound even at times choking also or perhaps processed with effects like reverb or delay. The contrast in rhythm is simply bewildering and wicked too coming to a pause where drums slow down the tempo. This is where guitar changes it’s tone slightly and drums become the lead narrative in this evil or condemned forces of darkness.

“Archways” is next up with swirling synthetic movements with deeply toned vocals whispering, giving a more experimental twist. A segment too like the fourth track but no drums, just guitar or synth/keys. Piano echoes on into the finale of this album which is “Exile, Outlaw… The Essence” is more of an instrumental track but vocals do come through to trigger the blackened thrash metal collision. Drums pulsate and bite through the mix where vocals or angelic voices coexist in this fantasy of a battle ground. Electric guitar also stands out with orchestral sounds, what a finish to a stupendous compilation of brilliance. This album and the man behind its creation are to be congratulated on a job well done and it's certainly an album worth remembering too. Looking forward to the next release and how MIKE REDSTON can go from here to bigger ambitions.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. Rotten Souls
3. Harvester
4. Dreams
5. The Red Mage’s Seduction
6. Foul Sorcery
7. Godswood
8. Born Among
9. Archways
10. Exile, Outlaw… The Essence
Lineup:
Mike Redston - Vocals & All Instruments
Dennis Kraakman - Drums
Record Label: Moonshooter Productions
     


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