Oh my, what a second album Shaman’s Harvest have delivered in Red Hands, Black Deeds. An absolute powerhouse collection comprising of twelve songs that demand cranking up as loud as the ears can stand.
Even the “quieter”, more considered numbers such as the opening title track and A Longer View – which both invoke a sense of omnipresent doom at every chord strike – are so masterfully produced by Keith Armstrong, it is as though the guys are playing for an audience of one: You!
Broken Ones, with rhythm guitarist Josh Hamler, lead guitarist Derrick Schipp and bassist Matt Fischer having a private battle to out muscle the extraordinary volume of Nathan Hunt’s vocals and Adam Zemanack’s remorseless, relentless resoundingly superb drums … goat toes an’ all … is just so damn original, whereas The Come Up ticks the singles anthemic crowd-pleaser box in a Black Stone Cherry kind of way, but not without ever parodying their peers, whereas the blues fest that is Off The Tracks is out-and-out class!!
It is in these contrasts and textures that Red Hands, Black Deeds really shines; a subtlety and balance that often go missing in the writing embolden the whole project, particular in tracks such as Long Way From Home and Tusk & Bone.
Hand-on-heart the stand out tracks run 1 through to 12, but as a personal favourite then The Devil In Our Wake comes out on top. Its eeriness is quite astonishing, with an opening “hoof beat” drum line which frighteningly conjures up that very first visit to see The Exorcist on the big screen; it’s anguished guitar work a soul scratching, blood chilling joy!
Blood Trophies seeps tension and angst throughout; it’s chant-filled centre a resonating echo chamber of emotion that makes the heart soar. So Long sees the band come a little more to the centre ground, before veering off it magnificently again with the closing Scavengers, a track guaranteed to create mental images of A Man Called Horse, Soldier Blue and The Wild Bunch simultaneously. Provocative might just sum its sense of despair … if provocative were strong enough a word, that is.
Shaman’s Harvest’s second Mascot Label album Red Hands, Black Deeds seriously, genuinely, honestly needs to be in your collection … like now. Don’t wait, just buy the damn thing. It truly is that astonishingly good!
Red Hands, Black Deeds
Released: July 28, 2017
Red Hands, Black Deeds
The Come Up
A Longer View
Off The Tracks
Long Way Home
The Devil In Our Wake
Tusk & Bone