Year of the Snake
What’s old is new again and what’s new is done better than most of the rest of the pack. The words “revival” and “rebirth” get tossed around an awful lot. Just like in the rest of life outside of the musical world, everything is cyclical. Twenty years ago brightly colored neon and ugly sweaters were popular, low and behold, here they are again. Ninja Turtles were huge, we all played with them growing up, they’re back again getting bastardized by Michael Bay. So it should stand to reason that to some extent music will follow suit.
So what does all of this have to do with Silver Snakes or their sophomore full length Year of the Snake? Instead of just rehashing their debut which fell more into the post-hardcore vein of other acts like HRVRD, they used it as a launching point to develop something with greater depth, warmth, and maturity. What you’ll hear spanning the record, though there’s multiple different tempos and style structures to the song is a very heavy leaning towards 90s alternative rock, something near and dear to the heart of most any music fan who spent their formative years in that decade.
Singer Alex Estrada recorded the band for Year of the Snake, with mixing by Brian McTernan (production wizard behind Cave In, Engine Down, Circa Survive, etc.) and this time Silver Snakes went heavier, darker, and divisively more ominous. “Four Crows” is the opening track and one of the most energetic on the record, harkening back to the early phases of Cave In’s escapade in space rock but with a heavier leaning towards 90’s alternative rock. Drenched in the smooth tones of Alex Estrada’s vocals, you really can’t go wrong. When the track ends, you hit “Smokestack”, melding their previous sound with their new darker grooves, easily one of the best tracks that has been released this year by this or any other band. Starting energetic but slipping into something more droning before crawling out of the dark into shining guitar effects and the last minute of the track that sounds more like a vintage stoner jam than a modern rock release.
Lyrically, this album outlines the year in their lives where they wrote and recorded the album. “We finished the record halfway through the year so half of it is based on the experiences in the first half and the second half of the record is based on predictions for the second half. Like how I thought my current situation would be a few months from then.” Estrada outlined in a recent interview.
To say that Year of the Snake was required listening almost understates how fantastic this album truly is. It’s saddening to know that Silver Snakes is a band that never likes to do the same thing twice because that means getting another record that is as uniquely delicate as it is darker than all hell, but at the same time that means that we’ll likely be privileged by a new kind of masterpiece from Estrada’s mind.
1. Four Crows
3. All Your Eye
6. Grey Wolf Wild
7. Fox and Embers
9. No Color
11. In Our Bones