Snakemother are four talented female musicians from Oakland, California who make a noise we are sure regular readers of Desert Psychlist , and those coming here anew, will wholeheartedly approve of. The band, Bianca Salinas (vocals / guitar); Colie Sutter (bass / vocals); Julia Arria (drums) and Sammie Dee Wallinga (lead guitar), jam a groove that is an intriguing blend stoner doom, proto-doom and occult/pagan rock tinted with splashes of exotic eastern promise and lysergic laced heavy psych over which strong lead and harmonised vocals waft with a fey ethereal elegance. The bands self-titled opus "Snakemother" is the bands very first release, we sure hope it's not their last.
Opening song "Ritual" begins with exotic drones over which a powerful vocal, sung in the style of a traditional Bulgarian folk song, is delivered, crunching guitars and growling bass then enter the fray but then just as quickly fade away to allow an almost folkish metal air to prevail, both musically and vocally Those crunching riffs are never too far way though and as the song progresses they soon shift from being bit part players to leading cast members, only relinquishing their dominance when the the music shifts into brief period of lysergic ambience but soon returning to take the song to its close. Unlike the opening song "Sacrum" does not bother with trying to gradually ease the listener in but instead goes straight for the throat with thundering drumming and grinding guitar refrains right from the offset. Eventually things do subside and those eastern tinted vocals that opened "Ritual" are reprised over a groove that slowly shifts, via another passage of ambience, towards a more traditional doom gait with the vocals taking on an almost nursery rhyme meter. Next song "Circles" is an intriguing blend of seductive alt-rock eeriness and swaggering doomic bluster that should appeal to fans of both Spain's Rosy Finch and France's Grandma's Ashes, it being a song that possess the sludgy bite of the former and the grungy elegance of the latter. "Gold Shields" follows and has a stuttering, almost stop/start, groove and is the first song, up to this point, not to go off on unexpected tangents into lysergic and ambient territories while the emotionally charged torch song "Mu Rise" dips it toes into both those territories as well as boasting a superbly delivered folkish vocal melody. Final song, "Little Lady", sees Snakemother mixing galloping proto-doom refrains with low slow stoner doom dynamics then topping off the resulting outcome with Iommi-like lead breaks and powerful ethereal vocals, a stunning and face melting finale to what is a truly impressive debut.
© 2023 Frazer Jones