Under The Radar: Snakedriver



A couple of weeks ago, I went to an Iron Reagan show and then wrote about it here. It was a great show, not only because I got to see Iron Reagan, but because my favorite local band, Snakedriver played.

Snakedriver is what happens when four intelligent fellows funnel every conceivable ounce of rage they’ve collected throughout their lives and release it in a furious performance. Whenever I listen to them, my imagination wanders and I envision a ferocious tiger built by the music itself: sinewy and robust with sludge influences, the lash-like stripes are are thick and black with unstable doom, and the beast’s heavy backbone is strong with hardcore and crust. You don’t fuck with this kind of noise.

My favorite release of theirs is a split EP they released with the Tennesseean blackened prog rockers Laser Flames on the Great Big News, which is simultaneously a great band name and the most hipster band name I think I’ve ever heard. On this EP, released by a company called Mutants of the Monster, Snakedriver really explores the hardcore and doom dimensions of their sound. In the three songs you hear the snarling of Fear and Black Flag, the hypnotic build-ups of Neurosis, the driving crunch of Eyehategod, and the an overdose of unique Arkansan punk rock attitude.

When I saw them last, I hung out with the bassist, Josh Richards. Despite how I just described the band he’s in, Josh seems like a solid and kind dude. He joined the band after their original bassist and guitarist left about three years ago. I have a feeling his input on the structure of Snakedriver’s music has become significant, though, because his bass tone throbs through the mix both live and on recordings.

He works his day job in the education field, constructing curricula. We discussed recently passed structural adjustments called Common Core, which is supposed to help standardize teaching around the country. This is a metal news site, though, so I’ll spare you, dear readers, of the details. Just know that dude doesn’t make brash judgment calls or sweeping generalizations.

Getting back to the music, I discovered he’s a fan of post-rock stuff and weird black metal bands like Alcest, Deafheaven, and Nothing. Just throwing it out there, I could dig some some black metal or shoe gaze making its way into a Snakedriver song.

Finally, I asked him how he felt about Pig Destroyer getting a bassist. Josh shook his head and grinned and vehemently respononded, “I’m all for it, dude.”

We chatted a bit longer, but eventually it was their turn on stage. When they play live it’s like a switch is flicked on all of them from “Chill” to “Will Definitely Throat Punch You” the second their amps buzz on.

Managing to slam songs out of their instruments as perfectly as a hardcore band dare, the members of Snakedriver lead the crowd in a frenzy of angst. The vocalist energetically prowls the stage like that aforementioned tiger on the hunt and occasionally brings himself to his knees with the intensity of his growls.

Download this band’s music, buy their merch, see them live! They rule hard and deserve some attention.

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