The American's are coming! For the last forty years, British bands have been at the forefront of rock music and its evolution. First, we Brits took an American sound, repackaged it and sold it back to the Yanks for a very British Invasion: From the blues infused sounds of Led Zeppelin to the darker tones of heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon, British rock has remained beloved on both sides of the Atlantic. However, there's been a quiet revolution brewing among our cousins. In the undercurrent of this New Wave of American Rock Music, bands like Rival Sons, Black Stone Cherry and Shaman's Harvest have been pulling apart the melodic, blues-enriched, organic sounds of British rock and replacing them with a distinctly American edge.
Shaman's Harvest has embraced the genre's roots along with their own their latest album, Red Hands, Black Deeds. Embarking on a shift in creative direction, the band have grown musically both in terms of sound and tone. With the help of maverick producer Keith Armstrong, the band recorded on vintage analogue equipment, refusing to use any digital effects, but going back to basics to great a pallet of sounds they wanted, including sandpaper, a rotary telephone and even goat toes. It's not just their sound which has steered direction, the lyrical content has become more socio-political, with tracks such as The Broken Ones and The Devil In Our Wake commenting on the current challenges that face the US, the world and questioning modern morality. Despite not intending to conceptualise the album, the dark, tense feelings on the album reflect the dark times in which we live.
Based in Missouri, the band make the most of their southern heritage with their choice of typical country style instrumentation on rootsy tracks like Long Way Home and the emotive Tusk and Bone. Percussively the band once again draw on their heritage; from the classic rock n roll swagger of The Come Up to the Native American rhythms of the prelude title track, drummer Adam Zemanek embodies the mood of the piece every time. Vocalist Nathan Hunt also demonstrates his versatility as a powerful yet soulful frontman, unafraid to hold back emotionally or let rip when needed – a rare thing in an age where it's all too easy to throw 100% in an overcook a track.
Shaman's Harvest has managed to bottle up all the tension and anxiety of our modern world and wrap it up in a dramatic yet accessible rock album. Yes, the Americans are coming and with an album this ebullient that's infused with vibrant melodies, ear-catching musicianship and candid, straight up lyrics, it won't be too hard to surrender.
Groupie Rating 4/5