A horrible hack

Snowblood

The Human Tragedy

Year Released: 2004
Format: CD
Label: Lawgiver Records
 
Reviewed by Graeme Cunningham on Jun 13, 2007
It feels odd to finally be attempting a review of Snowblood’s debut album. It’s been recorded for ages and I’ve become very fond of it in that time. Now finally as Snowblood stomp around the country on tour, both the vinyl (Super-Fi) and CD digipack (Lawgiver) versions are finally released.

Glasgow’s Snowblood deal in contrasts. They offer up monstrous slabs of crushing hardcore that break down in to quiet plaintive passages of drifting calm. “Disporosa” is a subtle prelude. A dark ambient swell, cut through by an eastern style guitar piece. This fades way to the brutish thud of “Kali”. Pounding guitar and drums thump along with occasional vocals stabs, on a muted grind, gradually picking up weight and cranking up the tension. Just when you can’t take much more it blows a fuse and burst into a torrent of traumatising ferocity. The whole track crackles with intent. “Claim nothing as thyne own” follows in complete contrast. Jazzy guitar and dub style bass with hushed vocals, giving you a moments respite. Of course, as sure as Weegies hate soap, its followed by a swift mauling of vicious hardcore before it breaks into a full on Sabbath style doom rock out and returning to the quiet intro for its end.

It’s a strategy that Snowblood use variations on throughout this record. Drawing you in with the gentle subtlety of their quite passages, then caving your skull in with a brick when you get to close. “Augustine” drifts along in a melodic passage (that my mum says is really very good) for a good six minutes before it throws the toys out the pram and hits the roof. My mother is not so keen on this part. The crescendo of this track is particularly bloody. Full on pit of the stomach growling, which to be honest is quite scary. “Cape Wrath” is opens with a distorted harmonic riff that repeats in slowly building then giving way to a almost mogwai esque section, with vocals floating in and out of the mix. “Escape is not freedom” tears the roof down as a grand finale, a juggernaught propelled on some dense eyehategod like riffage. The lyrics and artwork reflect a sincere interest in some spiritual/elemental ideas, which although not expanded on, ties up the whole record with a sense of purpose. Both the lp and the digipack are nicely packaged.

They took their time recording this and it really shows. It sounds massive as it rumbles out the speakers. There’s also a refreshing breadth of stylistic variations in both the heavy and quiet sections which are enhanced by subtle use of effects. It’s always great to hear good stuff from within the UK, even better within Scotland and Snowblood have produced one of the most accomplished British releases in years.

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