Published Feb 08, 2016Silver Snakes' third full-length album finds the Los Angeles band anchor themselves in a proven formula — thick, pounding guitar riffs, a beefy, driving rhythm section and powerful vocal delivery — while treading into new waters they've avoided in the past.
Saboteur is a growth record, marking a shift from the band's come-what-may writing process of their sophomore effort, Year of the Snake, to one that "we had to push ourselves to write," singer Alex Estrada said in an interview with Alternative Press. Here, the band draw quite deeply from '90s industrial groups like Nine Inch Nails — citing 1994's The Downward Spiral as a major inspiration — and it's hard to miss on tracks like "Charmer" and "La Dominadora."
Estrada has said in interviews that he tried exploring those sounds while writing Year of the Snake, but felt he was out of his element and scrapped the demos. Another couple years of experience seem to have given the band confidence to experiment, though, as Saboteur incorporates those as well as doom metal influences like Cult of Luna and Sleep, all without straying too far from their previous work.
Standouts include the hooky "Raindance," the drum-driven "Red Wolf" and the huge, dynamic "Devotion," while others like "Electricity" and "Dresden" drag in spite of the good ideas behind them. In all, Saboteur is a creative success for the band and a well-executed record, and those who have taken a liking to heavy, atmospheric rock in the vein of Thrice and O'Brother will find plenty to like in Saboteur. (Evil Ink Records)