Two years since they released their self-titled debut EP, Auckland’s grotty metal and hardcore sons Snakes of Iron return with their new digital EP, Scavengers. Somewhat of a supergroup (but let’s be honest, they’d hate the moniker) the band is comprised of former members of The Have, False Start, Los Muertos and Cold By Winter. If you’re familiar with any of those outfits, then you’ll have a good idea of what to expect here—intensity by the bucket load.
Snake of Iron have all the emotional weight and raw honestly of the members’ aforementioned premier-league outfits, but their mix of rolling, distorted riffs, quickening percussion and expressive vocals is of their own making. With a sonic link to acts such as Cancer Bats, Cobra Khan and Poison the Well, the band certainly dwell in the scrappy, low-end dirty riff realm, but there’s also a soulfulness and almost Kyuss-like stoner pulse to be found in the EP’s more expansive sections.
“Monster Eyes” bursts out of the gate, all grinding bass, amp-fusing riffs and spitting vocals—storming forth with a distinctly gutter-punk disposition, and a genuine Johnny Rotten inflection right there at the start. “Make it Your Own” brings in those previously mentioned dustier grooves, splicing some stoner/sludge-worthy echoing vocals into the song early, only for them to be resoundingly stomped upon when the walls of noisome riffs arrive to transform the number into a barnstormer.
“Dead Cities” and “A Pocket Full” settle the rate of knots, somewhat. The former, while still infused with a heaving momentum, is the EPs very own veritable anthem, whilst the latter traipses its way through a mix of post-punk flecked riffs and stirring bridges to its more melodic chorus—with a throat-scouring howl two minutes in that is just flat-out brilliant.
“Safety In Numbness” closes the EP with a bellicose churn through a raft of heavier genres. Metalcore screams and sludgy riffs collide with angular hardcore chords and harmonic, evocative vocals before the song simply explodes in its final third. Breathtaking stuff, and a rousing note to end Scavengers on.
Snakes Of Iron’s new EP is a huge success all round. Blending a range of metallic genres there’s a similar temperament to Cobra Khan’s last LP—that same sense of adventurism, backed by the unmistakable crunch of modern metal and hardcore. But there’s also something else here too, something that’ll ensure Snakes Of Iron retain their distinctive voice (should they choose to continue on the same sonic path). There’s a sense of innovativeness in the band’s coalescing of disparate styles of heavy rock, and while snippets of stoner rock are found more in the vocal cadence than the actual riffs as such, it’s that touch of difference that gives the EP its distinctive character.
So, that’s two EPs done, on with the full-length then. It’ll be fascinating to see what the band can do with a bit more room to breathe.
Snakes of Iron (facebook)