Silver Snakes - Saboteur - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Silver Snakes - Saboteur

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2016-02-16

Does anyone remember exactly when the dark, alternative rock - sometimes straying into a 'nu metal' area - fell from the mainstream? Evidently it never really went away. Silver Snakes are a testament to the brooding, strained genre, despite not being birthed in it’s heyday. Saboteur is the third album of the Californian quartet, offering you a blast from the recent past.

Touted as being a sort-of-concept-album, Saboteur is apparently a chronicle of revenge and sabotage (of course). The incessant buzz of these songs from gain-distorted guitars is, oddly, not the thing which will grind down your will to listen. Fans of this specific genre of rock will be comforted by that ever-negative bludgeon of riffs, constantly backed by a metal, springy bassline.

What really makes you want to switch off is the drumming, not one of the defining features of the genre but ultimately a casualty of it. Sticky sounding, mechanical drumming (heard most readily on ‘Dresden’) accompanied by carrying the beat on the hollow of a cymbal rather than the snare is endemic in late 90s, early 00s rock. Often sounding like it’s prompted by an electric drum pad, the band seem to use it to try and drive you to kill. Closing track ‘The Loss’ gives over four minutes for a drum outro with little reason or variation.

That said, as a slice of rock which will one day be “classic” for the teens who wore black hoodies and oversized black boots, there are redeeming songs. Opening track 'Electricity' gives a great overview of what the band is about; thundering through riffs, strained melodic chorus, throaty accompanying vocals - it’s all there. ‘Red Wolf’ is the pick of the bunch, giving singer Alex Estrada room to be heard, “heaven help me to be afraid”, he pleads. The track builds fantastically well, channelling some grungier 90s elements.

As a whole, the album will play like a bad flashback-nightmare for some, sorely showing a dated sound and scene. The industrial sound mixed in, making an attempt for Nine Inch Nails-eque dark ambience could work well if they look forward instead of back.

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