Shaman’s Harvest from Missouri have been blasting out the heavier side of rock since 1996. For their sixth long player, the band made a deliberate decision to take a step back to an older style of equipment to alter the vibe of their music. There was also a switch in songwriting, with a sharper focus on current political and economic issues affecting the USA today (with writing commencing when the Presidential election was on, there was a lot of raw material to draw on).
Comparing the latest release to the Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns album, there is more grunt and a new rawness in the sound. There is a tribal ring to the slow, steady drumbeat and chant-like delivery of the title track, before the album wakes up with the motorcycle rev riffage of the high impact ‘Broken Ones’. There is solid songwriting in ‘Tusk and Bone’ which makes an environmental statement about humanity’s treatment of the planet with lyrics such as “We cleared a million miles with no tree left unburned.” Closer ‘Scavengers’ uses megaphone-like distorted vocals and an ominous riff to form the sinister atmosphere which hovers, shroud-like, over the song. ‘Blood Trophies’ is a disk highlight, with its rampaging chorus and psychedelic licks illuminating the waistline of the song. The band has not forgotten its Midwest roots either, with country touches in the perky guitar play in ‘Off the Tracks’ and the ‘hidden’ song after the last listed track, which extolls the compensations of life on the road. Whether it is in the measured, strutting pace of ‘Long Way Home’ or the harsh percussion, slashed guitars and fiery vocals of ‘The Come Up’, there is a lot to appreciate in this release.