Shaman’s Harvest – Red Hands Black Deeds
Release Date: 28th July 2017
Label: Mascot Records
Having received little to no media attention outside of America, you’d be forgiven for being ignorant to the fact that this is Shaman’s Harvest sixth full length release. Since their formation in 1996, the band have steadily built themselves a back catalogue of five records and after twenty years, they have finally ventured to Europe where they found themselves supporting Black Stone Cherry on their 25 date tour. Despite the lack of coverage in the UK, Shaman’s Harvest have enjoyed some success over recent years; their 2009 single ‘Dragonfly’ found its way into a number of high positions in various American charts after selling over 130,000 copies. Following this their success was built on by their 2014 record ‘Smokin’ Hearts and Broken Guns’ which spent some time in the Itunes top 10.
The opening double salvo of ‘Red Hands Black Deeds’ and ‘Broken Ones’ gives a sense of what to expect from this record; the former kicks the record off with a haunting prelude which encapsulates the darker themes of life which the band explore throughout the rest of the record but within two minutes, we’re hit with a Wolfmother-esque riff which you can’t help but bang your head to. With bands of this ilk, many stagnate and write the same record time after time again but it feels like Shaman’s Harvest have been reinvigorated with a new creative spark, each track offering something fresh and different from the last. ‘The Come Up’ is not lacking in groove whilst it’s heartfelt lyrics offers a perspective on depression; “Can’t you hear me calling, I can’t fight alone anymore” certainly rings true for anybody who has fought against the illness.
Whilst the record provides plenty of groove and straight up rock and roll ‘Off The Tracks’ and ‘So Long’ being two notable examples of this, there’s still room for a more sombre track. ‘A Longer View’ takes a different approach to anything Shamans Harvest have written before; a piano led ballad which dabbles in political commentary. The surprising highlight of the album comes with penultimate track ‘Tusk & Bone’, a simple track focusing on the vocals of Nathan Hunt and an acoustic guitar which features a beautiful intro which subtly continues throughout the verse before the appearance of one final soaring guitar solo.
In its most basic form, this is an arena rock record but to summarise it as such would be unjust. Although it does not lack in this department, it is more than just a record full of riffs and guitar solos. Shaman’s Harvest have done what bands such as Rival Sons have failed to do, they’ve taken basic ideas and turned them into something greater than that through relevant and genuine lyrical content, differing moods and most importantly, fresh ideas.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Tusk & Bone’ and ‘The Come Up’
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