Red Hands Black Deeds
(Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group)
The title track is quite tribal as Matt Fisher (bass) lays down the bassline and Adam Zemanek (drums) provide a hypnotic beat which goes straight into ‘Broken Ones’ which is a real head banger with a classic rock approach (The band used analogue effect pedals and vintage amps as they simply did not want to use anything digital.)
‘The Come Up’ has this percussive beat that acts a music glue with lead singer Nathan Hunt singing with an analogue vocal. This is then followed by a mysterious smooth female backing vocal.
‘A Longer View’ makes me think of a wind-up toy solider being wound up and then walking around. The song does have a socio-political message which is interesting because the writing of the album began in November 2016 (at the time of the US Presidential Election).
A vocal highlight is ‘Soul Crusher’ as it has a dense sound but Hunt blends his vocals with Josh Hamler (rhythm guitarist) and Derrick Shipp (lead guitarist) with such ease.
‘Off The Tracks’ has a real chug and has potential to be a radio favourite if they can do a ‘clean’ radio edit. Think of a rockier sounding Seasick Steve kind of thing.
‘Long Way Home’ features haunting staggered electric guitar and sounds like a jazz number with lyrics ‘Too old for a sweet song and too young for rock n’ roll’. Subtle keyboard compliments the build-up to the chorus with the drums. Interestingly, producer Keith Armstrong suggested using goat toes on this track and they really do add something to the overall delivery.
‘The Devil In Our Wake’ sounds at times like The Doors. A possible influence?
‘So Long’ is a funny lyric as the band ask the question ‘Why did it take you so long to leave me?’ A relatable number that has potential to be a popular choice in live sets.
If you enjoy acoustic moments of The Temperance Movement then ‘Tusk & Bone’ will be up your street.
Closer ‘Scavengers’ would work well accompanying a television series like Sons of Anarchy with the dark acoustic guitar painting pictures of long roads and desert in my head.*
*Two interesting facts about ‘Scavengers’: Firstly, the producer had the band use sandpaper on the recording and secondly, keep listening to the very end of the track (just make sure no children are in the room!)
In conclusion, Shaman’s Harvest does have dark elements to their material but songs such as ‘Long Way Home’ and ‘Soul Crusher’ show how strong they are as writers. The vocals are clear, the musicians know when to play out and when not to play out and the album’s production is well-thought out.
They don’t scream at you or sing about sacrificing yourself to the Devil but rather tell stories that try and connect with the listener and I think that by touring North America with Nickleback this year, they will be able to share their strong ‘Red Hands, Black Deeds’ with thousands of people. A very worthy release that does deserve a listen.
(Many thanks to Mascot Label Group UK)
Shaman’s Harvest new album ‘Red Hands Black Deeds’ is out now on Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group.
For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2i7TSrS