Shaman’s Harvest – Rebelator (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 40:55 minutes | 530 MB | Genre: Metal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Mascot Records
It isn’t unusual for a band to go on hiatus after an album release. Nor is it remiss for there to be a level of expectation upon that band’s return. Missouri rockers SHAMAN’S HARVEST release Rebelator, their first album in five years, this Friday.
The follow up to 2017’s Red Hands Black Deeds comes with 11 tracks of what promises to be quintessential SHAMAN’S HARVEST. What makes this record stand out from the rest is what vocalist Nathan Hunt had to overcome in the musical interim. Complications following an accident on a construction site some ten years ago almost forced Hunt to contemplate the amputation of a leg in March 2021. Overcoming this and a diagnosis of throat cancer a decade ago had left the vocalist bereft. Yet the release of single Bird Dog, the band’s first new material in three years, gave him hope, as well as a doctor who could replace a shattered joint and rebuild the Achilles tendon.
With hope restored, focus has been poured into Rebelator. Single Under Your Skin toys with spatial audio as Josh Hamler and Derrick Shipp’s guitars sweep through the soundscape. A swinging riff dominates the instrumental as Hunt’s smoky vocals trickle through the peaks and troughs. Calling out to the “broken and run down” within us, the chorus packs the punch needed despite this not being a particularly raunchy number. This slow burn does what it says on the tin – gets under your skin. Shipp’s solo toward the end of the track may not stray from the beaten track but it serves as a natural peak.
Slow burns are par for the course with Rebelator. “The Devil’s digging her spurs in” Hunt croons on Toe The Line. Sitting within the churning riffs gives depths to the vocals but also overwhelms them when a chorus comes around. Toe The Line houses a slower groove which gives space for smaller nuances such as subtle growls and an acoustic interlude. Aside from this however, the track doesn’t go much further than the line SHAMAN’S HARVEST is toeing. While Wildfire’s flickering guitar melody gives the promise of an implosion. Adam Zemanek’s drums are akin to the crackles and pops of oxygen escaping. With Hunt’s proclamation of “I called you my good friend”, the anticipation of a raging inferno only builds. Yet as the quartet strike the match, we’re given a contained bonfire rather than a bushfire. This is no bad thing as the story of betrayal is one which intends to haunt, much like the sting of a cigarette burn long after the initial injury.
Though the aforementioned appear to be missteps, that shouldn’t discount the fact that SHAMAN’S HARVEST are more than capable of great musical composition. The grunge feeling of Voices gives the perfect space for demons to reside. With subdued guitars and muted drums, Hunt’s morose “these voices tryna kill me” is positively haunting. Murky basslines fill the ears as the second half of the song becomes fleshier and more rounded. Punctuating Shipp’s solo with whispered voices imparts the impression you will never outrun your demons without being entirely intrusive.
Lilith on the other hand fully intends to be intrusive. “I’m a snake within your garden” Hunt snarls to the object of the song’s desire – an intoxicating woman who is fully aware of the power she wields over weak-willed men. Naming a song after the primordial she-demon rightly fills a listener with expectation, one SHAMAN’S HARVEST fulfils with its dark and lustful undertones. An infectious chorus lays worshippers at this woman’s feet to the tune of grinding riffs. Though this track pulls no punches in reminding us we will never tame the wild cards. The outro slows to an isolated vocal, the lone worshipper still begging for acknowledgement from their earthbound deity.
Rebelator truly shines within its dying moments. Featuring SEVENDUST’s Clint Lowery, Pretty People carries much more energy than the majority of the record before it. Zemanek’s beats peak and trough throughout the verses, making the song more dynamic. “Don’t you need the attention” oozes with judgment. The atmosphere of this song is one of spite as it turns the tables on those who sail through life on their looks. Closing track Bird Dog again simmers in atmosphere, but the distinct twang of country music pushes their boundaries. A tale of a gunslinger meeting his end in a Western county, Bird Dog ruminates in low frequencies and almost murmured lyrics. While this is a fitting close to Rebelator, it feels this call to “bring out your dead” has come a little too late.
SHAMAN’S HARVEST were plagued with difficulties making this record. Financial troubles and tornados among other things called for a stop-start nature. Unfortunately, this shows in parts as Rebelator doesn’t feel like one cohesive unit. It’s an album to come back to when a solid record is needed to keep you company for nights in or in a mate’s living room. However it won’t always be first choice.
1-1. Shaman’s Harvest – Under Your Skin (03:23)
1-2. Shaman’s Harvest – Toe the Line (03:52)
1-3. Shaman’s Harvest – Flatline (03:26)
1-4. Shaman’s Harvest – Voices (04:00)
1-5. Shaman’s Harvest – Wildfire (03:49)
1-6. Shaman’s Harvest – Lilith (03:52)
1-7. Shaman’s Harvest – Mama (02:44)
1-8. Shaman’s Harvest – Hurricane (04:21)
1-9. Shaman’s Harvest – Pretty People (03:12)
1-10. Shaman’s Harvest – Wishing Well (03:42)
1-11. Shaman’s Harvest – Bird Dog (04:28)