An outfit whose presence I have recently noted on the ever excellent Bandcamp is Snail. Formed in 1992 and comprising singer Mark Johnson, bassist Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson, the band recorded an eponymous album on Big Deal Records. However, the band had run its course and split, only to reuinte in 2008. This line-up saw the addition of guitarist Eric Clausen, and they went on to release another album, the critically acclaimed “Blood”. Which pretty much brings us up to the present day, with the release this month of their latest album, ‘Terminus’.
‘Terminus’ is quite refreshing in the sense that I’ve been listening to so much pummelling music lately where the vocalist seems to think that screaming at the top of their voice is a style that will guarantee success. Snail’s vocalist, Johnson, actually sings. Backed up by a slow-paced [let’s be honest; a band named ‘Snail’ is hardly going to play fast thrash, is it?] heavy guitar riffing and bassline of solid proportions, this album draws on such classic influences as Sleep, later CoC, and a good soaking of 70s southern style rock in the Lynyrd Skynyrd vein, to provide the listener with a dirty, rocking sound. Looking at their website, they seem to share a love for vintage guitars and amps, [any guitarist who plays a twin necked guitar must know their rock chops!] and the production on the album does have that nice, old-fashioned valve amp warmth to it. It’s made to be played on an old, wood-fronted record deck in 180 gram thick vinyl!
Having just waded through a slightly depressing morass of new music vying for attention, and emerged despondent and in need of a stiff drink, this comes as a refreshing change – good song structure, solid musicianship, excellent production and evidence of a wide musical background all make me take Snail seriously.