snake road debut 7 inch
Snapcase vocal style meets Thunderous Baroness Riffmasters Philadelphia hardcore punk. That’s the three-word description bassist Travis Collison offers of his band, Snake Road. He’s not wrong. But fortunately for him, and the rest of the rocking world, Snake Road’s ‘Severed’ EP goes well beyond the straight hardcore motif.
‘Immunity’ pairs a straight rock n’ roll riff with the type of vocal agro typically reserved for the crust set. At barely over 1-minute long though, it’s over just as you’re starting to feel it might be on of the greatest things you've ever heard. ‘Reminder’ follows and is a step in the more directly hardcore direction, including a great chugging bridge.
Drummer Jeff Barow begins ‘My Undoing’ with rolling double-bass thunder, paving the way for the most metallic riffing (and soloing!) yet from guitarist/vocalist Jordan Berk. ‘Loft’ is perhaps the most straight hardcore track on the record, and lacks some of the dynamics of the rest of the record. ‘Revered and Venerated’ slows the tempo, layer building upon layer in the intro before bursting into a Snapcase-era hardcore mid-section which itself returns to the slow crush.
‘Past, Present, Mirror’ almost lapses into the same territory as ‘Loft’ before Berk’s picks up the lead vocal in counterpoint to vocalist/guitarist Jimmy Brady, adding some needed variety. ‘Still Breathing’ joins ‘Immunity’ and ‘My Undoing’ as one of the best tracks on ‘Severed,’ an intro and outro reminiscent of vintage Sick Of It All, complete with some fine bouncing bass work from Collison, sandwiching a hardcore rock n’ roll middle.
And that’s one of the things that sets this record apart from so many of its brethren, it eschews hidebound conventions and instead lets itself roam wherever the members of Snake Road take it. Brady’s vocals attack in a way that’s familiar to anyone who spent time listening to late ‘90s/early ‘00s hardcore, but they avoid coming across as simply part of the bludgeon, instead standing out as a musical unit of their own.
And the guitars? All praise to a band willing to set the goddamn compression aside and let the shred ride. It is a sound for sore ears, and much appreciated in this age when everything seems to have to get crammed into the same middle bandwidth as everything else.
Snake Road released ‘Severed’ electronically last year, but have been picked up by the UK’s Speedowax label for release of a vinyl 7” version. The band is also playing frequently along the east coast, so keep your eyes open and check them out when you can.here