|Artwork by Jesse Roberts|
This self-titled release may be a debut effort by Seattle, WA-based Sandrider, but that's not an indication of experience or lack of chemistry. Nat Damm (drums) and Jon Weisnewski (guitars and vocals) have been playing together in Akimbo for over a decade, and are joined by bassist Jesse Roberts (the Ruby Doe) to complete the line-up. Weisnewski founded Sandrider with Damm out of a desire to play guitar again. The group take their name from Frank Herbert's Dune series, a staple of heavy metal and hardcore inspiration for many. The term refers to someone capable of controlling a giant sand worm, or shai hulud. That idea infuses the music this record contains conceptually, as well as thematically.
Sandrider is characterized by a sense of restraint and control, a powerful sound that's carefully leashed. The tone is aggressive and muscular, but deployed very carefully, often pulled back or stripped down for effect. The thick, ropey guitar tone hints at sludge, but resists being weighed down. The riffs drive forward with a momentum that evokes a massive beast propelling itself through sand, forcing the desert to bend around it. Sandrider is vast, gripping the listener, and intellectual without over-thinking. This is an extremely promising debut from a powerful new project.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]