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SNOWBLOOD – Being and Becoming (Lawgiver/Super-Fi)

Posted: September 23rd, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

It’s hard to know exactly what superlatives to use to adequately review this album. Snowblood are a band from Glasgow and this is their second album, barely a year since their debut. But how far they’ve come on. In the space of eight tracks spanning just over an hour, they finally manage to match the intensity of their live appearance (recently glimpsed in a full-blooded tour of these isles) and give notice of their likelihood of becoming one of the UK’s most interesting and aurally satisfying bands currently operating.

Snowblood are one of an increasingly bountiful crop of bands exploring the space between ridiculously heavy metal music and the more minimalist and experimental side of “post-rock”. That is, their contemporaries can be named as bands such as Isis, Pelican, Mono (or even Botch and Converge) and how many other million bands that seem to be emerging from the woodwork of late, but comparisons to these fuckos hardly seems fair. To start with, each of these bands I have mentioned have always seemed to run out of interesting ideas (or if you’re Mono, never actually started out with any). What sets Snowblood apart for me personally at least is the fact that they are not afraid to keep pushing at any kind of normal expectations. You might read this, listen and draw comparisons to Neurosis, but it’s not like that’s a bad thing. And this is one hell of a sophomore album from a young and exciting band.

The album’s first two tracks are both sparse and quiet, creating a real sense of foreboding that manages to be earnest without being embarrassing, and when the crushing riffs finally crack open the sky and descend the power of their rage really is affecting. I don’t know how they’ve done it, but somehow Snowblood manage to keep this mood up for an hour without falling into the trap of coming across as po-faced. For someone as jaded as myself, it really is hearteningly sincere and all the for better for having the gall to be so. What’s even better is that they’re not all just foreboding and looming catharsis. Though the epic tracks – such as the all-conquering ‘Black Stars Over Glasgow’ – are probably the main thing to get all hot under the collar about, the unexpected thrashout of ‘The Year of the Bastard’ and some lovely mucking around with textures and sounds throughout the record are what makes “Being and Becoming” so compelling a listen for me.

A quick mention that this CD will also be coming out as a double LP on heavyweight 180gm vinyl in a very limited edition of 500, which I would thoroughly recommend splashing out on.


Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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