Do you like your metal tricked out with multi-tracked guitar lines, bass drums triggered to sound more like clicks than thumps and vocals that sound like Cookie Monster just hit his thumb with a hammer? Yeah? Then DONâ€T listen to Sandriderâ€™s self-titled debut album (released on Good to Die RecordsÂ December 6th, 2011). However, if you like strait forward, energetic, metal infused rock and roll with no gimmicks then this collaboration between current members of Akimbo Jon Weisnewski and Nat Damm, and The Ruby Doeâ€™s Jesse Roberts is for you.
Below, I will review my favorite 4 tracks from the 7 track LP.
Track 1, â€œChildrenâ€: Blasting out of the gate with thunderous rolling drums and a hybrid blues/metal/punk guitar riff that is soon accompanied by a thick bass foundation, the opening track â€œChildrenâ€ lured me into the Sandrider fan club never to look back; and I had not even made it to the vocals yet. And let me tell you, the raw power spewing forth from Jon Weisnewskiâ€™s vocal chords is enough to make any hardcore kid wet his pants in intimidated excitement. To put it in rocker singer terms: dude has some fuckinâ€™ pipes. This was the perfect choice for an opening track for the LP because it properly introduces the listener to the band without giving away its idiosyncratic personality traits.
Track 2, â€œThe Corpseâ€: Where â€œChildrenâ€ melts the skin off of your face with an all-out sonic assault, â€œThe Corpseâ€ throws youÂ about rapidly with impeccably-placed feel changes starting with the first chords strummed. The guitar tone and riff construction of the intro sound as if they could be coming from Tom Morelloâ€™s rig. However this does not last long, soon the drums make themselves present, the bass joins in and that guitar riff takes on a whole new life as a heavier, more vicious beast as the song brings the listeners heart rate to a racing series of thuds. Following the intro, Sandrider offers a glimpse into their song-smith arsenal; complete with brief lulls wherein the storm of aggressive distortion is replaced with clean guitar and vocals, rolling grooves provided solely by the rhythm section and an outro that somehow is heavier than the intro â€œThe Corpseâ€ is by and far one of the more interesting tracks from the album.
Track 5, â€œPaperâ€: Drummer Nat Damm and bassist Jesse Roberts open this track up with a thick groove that, even though has a lower BPM than the first few tracks of the album, still rocks just as hard. The bass tone achieved by Roberts is the perfect fit for this project. It is apparent that he put some serious time and effort into crafting his amplifiers sound. He manages to achieve the percussive, buzzy quality mandatory for punk or hardcore styles of playing while maintaining the low end that is required to adequately carry a three piece rock band. This beautiful blend of buzz and bass is backed up with surgeonâ€™s precision by Damm on the drum kit. Like Roberts, it is no question that Damm has put in many hours crafting the quality he wants his kit to put forth. Once Weisnewski joins with vocals and guitar the listener is introduced to a bit of the versatility this band is capable of. While it is hard to choose and I change my mind frequently the more I become acquainted with an album, as of this writing , â€œPaperâ€ is my favorite track from the Sandrider album.
Track 6, â€œThe Judgeâ€: At 10:07, this droning (in a good way) jam will appeal to the stoner metal lover in you.Â It beginsÂ with an almost melancholy guitar riff that rolls along just long enough to hypnotize the listener. Once their attention is obtained Sandrider release the bluesy, metallic core of â€œThe Judgeâ€. While there are not many changes in chord progression or tempo throughout the ten-plus minutes, this track needs to be that long. I cannot explain why but if it were shorter it would not feel right.Â The drawn out feel changes and slow builds the music of this song feels as if it is telling a story.
Overall this is an excellent LP. Â Not only are these songs well-crafted and enjoyable but the sound quality of the recording is excellent as well. As someone who is in a band that does its own recording I understand the time and effort it takes to get your album to the point where the quality of recording is an accurate portrayal of the music itself. There is not a doubt in my mind that this group put as much time into making sure their amps and drums sound exactly how that want them as they did in writing the album. It is hard to nail down a comparison but I believe it is safe to say that any fan of The Sword, Mastodon, or Baroness will surely find themselves fast friends with Sandrider.
Be sure to check them out live
Jan 12 The Comet Tavern Seattle, WA
Jan 13 The Shakedown Bellingham, WA
Jan 14 Plan B Portland, OR
Feb 01 The Tractor Tavern Seattle, WA