Some bands use “industrial” as a way to describe themselves. Others use it to define themselves. Silver Snakes are definitely the latter. The band decamped to an industrial building in Chinatown, L.A. to record their new album Death and the Moon. The setting certainly influenced the music, as it’s gritty, abrasive, and, at times, terrifying good.
In frontman Alex Estrada, Silver Snakes has someone who doesn’t just have the glorious guttural vocals needed for this kind of work, but the darkened vision to drag the listener to a gloomy and desolate place. “Eclipse” offers a slight respite from the unrelenting onslaught of the opening four tracks, before a heavy AF riff kicks in that brings the listener to their knees.
Silver Snakes are at their best when Estrada has something between his teeth. This is evident on “Wool,” the standout track on the album as abrasive riffs, pounding drums, and a wall of noise encircle us before Estrada’s vocals offer a lifeline to safety. “Mescaline” is an exercise in brutality with the outro being the most cohesive piece of music on the album. However, it is followed up by “Black Fire” and “Dissolve” which feels like industrial by numbers and sounds like a band out of ideas and treading water until inspiration hits.
Death and the Moon is a harder, more abrasive, album than its predecessor. The industrial motifs are more pronounced. Everything feels bigger, harder hitting, and more epic than anything Silver Snakes have released in the past. There are more electronic elements to making Silver Snakes a band in transition. And this is where the album starts to unravel a bit. The change in sound from the last album is evident. The Scathe EP was a love letter to the music they adore, so of course some of that will seep into their new compositions, but it’s too soon to say if this change is for the best, but so far it appears so.