Friday, May 25, 2012

Breaking Bread with the Dragon: Sandrider Returns

We're happy to welcome back Seattle's Sandrider to Total Fest this year. They were a freshly assembled band back in 2009 that melted more than a few unsuspecting faces. Why people were so surprised was a bit baffling. The three members, Jon Weisnewski, Nat Damm, and Jesse Roberts have quite the pedigree beneath them. Jon and Nat hail from (the all too fresh ashes) of Akimbo, and Jesse from Ruby Doe. The band is extremely solid and sound like they've been playing together for more than just a few years.

For a variety of reasons, their self-titled, and highly anticipated, debut LP didn't come out until 2011 on Good To Die Records, but Sandrider built-up a solid reputation based on their thunderous live performances. For my money, it's one of the best albums of last year, and the tastemakers have been flipping their heads with new adjectives to describe the band. They've been dubbed approachable stoner rock and described as slightly less violent chaos, but it's hard, and ultimately unnecessary, to find an adequate definition for a band that meanders and crushes all at the same time.

The tempered screams are tracked by forceful riffs and punctuated with colossal drums. It's more than just a genre, Sandrider exposes all the raw nerves and muscle that makes you realize that heavy music is best when it's felt. They're still one of the most fun, well-rounded, volcanic bands that I've seen. The band has erupted from its once dreaded "side project" status into one of the most hard hitting, power trios in the north west. In one way, Sandrider marks a resurrection of Seattle's heavy heydays, but, much more so, the band is building on that sound, taking it in new and exciting directions that should force us all to realize how damn lucky we are to have them return.

You have your warning this time; don't look so surprised when they slap you in the face.

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