SNAKE HEAD RITUAL – ST (2013)
Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, on SNAKE HEAD RITUAL’s self-titled debut you can almost envision the classic rock vibe from the name alone. This record shows a mature group of musicians influenced by the seventies & eighties rock of bands like the .38 Special, Allman Brothers, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy and more, where they blend classy American sounds with a touch of heavy blues / southern / melodic hard rockin’ spirit.
Signed by the same label of the already presented here Stone Machine – another band to take reference about Snake Head Ritual’s sound (search Labels for their great album featured last year), these guys thickens the list of refreshing new acts bringing this lovable genre alive & kickin’ again.
Formed three years ago, Snake Head Ritual has worked hard to craft over the last two years on the local scene a sound that is unique yet still pays tribute to the great bands that influenced them.
The vocals of Kevin Chez are commanding – a powerhouse singer with serious attitude and authority, the twin guitar attack of Bill McCullough and John ‘Special K’ Keller is superb, and the formidable rhythm section of Chris Graham (bass) and Josh LaForge (drums & percussion) all combine into one excellent album full of originals that stand up against some of the greatest melodic hard rocking southern rock.
“Train” starts things off with some killer harmonica work (it sounds like a guitar riff!) from Five Horse Johnson’s Eric Oblander which permeates the whole song and sets the stage for the rest of this album of killer blues based hard rock.
“Lay Your Burdens Down” is filled with a huge sound of multiple guitars and some Wurlitzer organ added to beef up the kick ass rhythm section this track delivers.
“Give” starts with a bluesy guitar line but quickly packs a powerful riff that could come straight off .38 Special hardest moments, combine that with the powerful vocals of Chez and you’re in hard rock headbanger territory until the guitar solos kick in and bring you solidly back into blues rock.
The rest of the songs packs the same amount of energy, but Snake Head Ritual states they are a band clearly rooted in the history of the blues on the final track – “Poor Robert’s Lament”.
This is an astounding rocker that tells the story of American legend Robert Johnson told like you’ve never heard it before. After some great solo work in the middle of the song, everything takes a moody break as we relive Robert’s poisoning at the hands of a jealous lover. You can almost feel the devil rising up to reclaim his soul.
Snake Head Ritual’s debut is a Highly Recommended album to anyone who likes true Classic Rock / bluesy Hard Rock served with passion, stupendous musicianship and crisp production.
The songs are great, the playing substantial & polished, and the groove of these guys rock your socks off.
As said: Highly Recommended.
01 – Train
02 – She’s A Shaker
03 – Lay Your Burdens Down
04 – Tell Me
05 – Give
06 – Whiskey Woman
07 – Smile
08 – Heartless
09 – Nothern Boogie
10 – Poor Robert’s Lament
Kevin Chez – vocals, rhythm guitar
Bill McCullough – guitar
John ‘Special K’ Keller – guitar
Chris Graham – bass
Josh LaForge – drums
Eric Oblander – guest harmonica
Helsey Borkowski – keyboards
BUY IT !