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Snake Head Ritual: Snake Head Ritual

Right from the fret meandering and harmonica which introduces "Train", you know that Snake Head Ritual are gonna serve up something of serious Blues worth. Although it doesn't prepare you for just how damn potent the ten tracks on this self titled debut turn out to be. If you like your Blues to Rock then you're gonna want to break out your ceremonial garb and take part in this ritualistic delight!

From that moaning harmonica and those wailing frets, "Train" twists and dives through a mighty riff that merely sets the scene for more to follow, "She's A Shaker" jabbing and slamming a gargantuan groove that completely takes over your mind. Singer Kevin Chez commands from behind the mic, his voice having the verve of Neil Fallon (Clutch), while still somehow possessing the power and clarity of Paul Stanley (Kiss), back when he could sing... However the fact that he adds a third guitar to the already potent twin attack of Bill McCulloch and John "Special K" Keller should let you know that no matter how impressive Chez's singing is, or how rock solid the bass work of Chris Graham and drumming of Josh Laforge proves, it is the riff that's rightly proclaimed king here.

"Lay Your Burdens Down" is old Whitesnake on steroids, "Give" stomps, strides and swaggers with well earned confidence, while "Whiskey Woman" is every bit as dirty and guiltily pleasurable as you'd hoped. Add to that the frantic AC/DC gone Southern of "Northern Boogie" and the poignant tale of "Poor Robert's Lament", where Blues master Robert Johnson is paid tribute to in a manner we've never heard before and the SHR debut really begins to reveal its inner strength and outer joy. Amazingly the percussive storm of "Smile" and rolling wall of guitar that is "Heartless" maintain the standard and leave you gasping with delight as they steamroller over you through a hard hitting stab of melody and uncannily loose precision.

This is a well oiled machine, with Snake Head Ritual providing riffs that bite into the mind and don't let go, solos which slap you to attention time and again and grooves that are so fat that your speakers will need planning permission to squeeze them into your house. All the while leaving you convinced that the only down side to the whole thing is that at some point it has to end. Until you hit play all over again! And you will.

Track Listing
1. Train
2. She's A Shaker
3. Lay Your Burdens Down
4. Tell Me
5. Give
6. Whiskey Woman
7. Smile
8. Heartless
9. Northern Boogie
10. Poor Robert's Lament

Added: January 6th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Snake Head Ritual at Grooveyard Records
Hits: 1728
Language: english

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