They say punk is dead in the UK. Well while it might not be alive and kicking, it’s got a pulse. As proof, we bring you Snake.
Snake, in their current form, are a ‘bare-essentials’ punk two-piece. What the shitting hell is ‘bare-essentials punk’ you ask? Put it this way: there’s a single guitar, one set of drums, and fervid, vehement vocals – the bare-essentials of hardcore punk. But by calling them ‘bare-essentials’ I don’t mean any disrespect – the sounds breaking forth from these two brothers from Kingston Upon Thames, London, is violent, harsh, and – considering there is only two of them – bloody impressive. Don’t get me wrong, the sound of a bass is salient in its absence, but that doesn’t mean you miss it. By powering forward with just a guitar, drums, and the bile in their lungs, you get a destructive rawness when listening to Snake’s new EP, Love, Hate, Life, Death. It’s just like moshing into a grater, y’know?
The rawness isn’t just created by absence either. It’s not just there because of a lack of a bassist, because of a failure to apply some technical gloss, or because of a bit of production polish that never got added. The fresh out of the cauldron vibe is fully sought after, the EP was played and recorded live. No polish wanted, no gloss needed. This is brutal punk, made to be heard loud, seen live, and to completely lose your shit to.
The EP kicks off with ‘Love’, not the most coveted topic of punk. Although it’s a pretty slow starting pace, singer/guitarist Louis’s vocals manage to add some fleeting urgency and carry the melody of the track. The drums, played by brother Will, pound on with a constant driving beat throughout the song. It certainly manages to be dark and gloomy, but that’s a dynamic you expect to find midway through a full length release, not as the opening track of a short EP. All in all, it is possibly the weakest of the four-track release, sticking to the same pattern and sounding more sad and pessimistic than aggressive. It’s mostly just a shame because it gives such a false impression for what lays ahead; luckily, it isn’t a sign of what follows!
‘Hate’ really picks up the momentum, kicking on with the pace and developing an intensity in the music, while a real catchiness manages to cling to the core of the song. I guarantee that this track in particular will have a whole crowd screaming angrily back at the band: “I’m A Lost Soul, I’m A Lost Soul, I’m A Lost Soul, I’m A Lost Soul”. It would be difficult to find a fan – especially a punk fan – who can’t find a sense of resonance with that. In fact, much of the EP will strike a chord with the troubled souls listening. Everybody’s felt lost sometime… I can’t stress how much more I enjoyed this second track than the first. It’s faster, but still low, cranking up the aggression. It’s almost cathartic, screaming out all of the clenched up anger and unleashing a destructive, fast-paced storm of punk.
‘Life’ continues down the path Hate started us on. On this track in particular, I think the introduction of a bass would be a loss rather than a gain. The rawness Snake capture really can’t be overstated. With a constant powerful riff ‘Life’ is as effective as possible, giving you a reason to get angry – if you weren’t already – and making you want to tear shit up. This is what punk is about, with crunching breakdowns closing out. Final track ‘Death’, despite its name, has got a real positive message: don’t be afraid, don’t dread death, and live life to the fullest. It’s not the message you usually expect from punk, but I really enjoy the positive vibes laid in a blanket of aggressive screams. More dirty riffs, more coarse vocals, more quality punk. This is more like it.
If you enjoy your punk loud, fast, and full of intensity, you need to check out Love, Hate, Life, Death; if that’s not how you enjoy punk, are you sure you even like punk? Seriously?! What can we take from these four tracks? Well Snake have some serious promise. That’s a fact. Despite a somewhat underwhelming start, this lures you in and leaves you wanting more; that’s the job of an EP, so mission accomplished.
4 out of 5 high fives!