· SNAKE HEAD RITUAL (GYR105) ·
::T R A C K S::
FORMAT: Audio CD / Digipack
Way-kool debut studio disc by this bad-ass, killer hard rock band from Toledo, Ohio featuring 10 tracks of excellent, straight-up, powerful, blues-based, retro-fied, melodic Classic Rock mojo that will kick your ass & rip the roof off your good rock n' roll jam:house. The Snake Head Ritual disc is an awesome slab of hard-driving, no-frills, ass-kickin', pure rock fury complete with strong, memorable songs full of depth, maturity & heavy rock mojo.
Snake Head Ritual are true Rock N' Roll saviors on a Mission to Keep the Rock alive. Fronted by the outstanding, powerhouse vocals of Kevin Chez, an amazing, obscure rock vocal god who sings his ass off with serious attitude and authority. Mr. Chez is a killer vocalist who definitely brings & delivers the hard rockin' S.H.R. musical message. The awesome riffage + lead guitar mojo is supplied by Bill "Riff-Master" McCullough and John Keller, who both graduated with high honors from the school of guitar rock. Chris Graham lays down the low-end bottom kool and Josh LaForge rocks the bad-ass S.H.R. drum groove. All excellent players in their own rite who combine to create a truly classic memorable sound. Last but not least, Eric Oblander from Five Horse Johnson guests & lays down some bad-ass harmonica on several tracks that rock the blues.
In the immortal words of Daniel Jacks @ "Raised On Rock" Radio: "The year is 2013 and Snake Head Ritual are definitely Keeping the Rock alive with their outstanding new breed of kick-ass Classic Rock mojo on this amazing Grooveyard Records disc". A timeless, blues-based, retro-sonic, hard rock masterpiece of classic proportions.
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· VIDEO ·
SNAKE HEAD RITUAL - "Smile"
· reviews ·
Ohio blues rockers’ tidy debut. If white men can play the blues, there’s nothing to stop northerners playing southern rock. Or even Midwesterners like this Toledo, Ohio five-piece. When you notice that one of the tracks is entitled "Whiskey Woman," you probably know roughly how it sounds before it starts. But that’s no bad thing in SHR’s case – this is proudly traditional, post-Skynyrd stuff, and on riff-driven, sinewy grooves like "She’s A Shaker," it delivers in some style. Kevin Chez’s barroom-belter vocals help in that pursuit, as do the twin guitars of Bill McCullough and John Keller. Thankfully, they also possess what too many heavy blues bands lack – a real Muscle Shoals-style feel to their playing. All of which makes penultimate track "Northern Boogie" a statement of intent you can believe in. It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at. FINAL VERDICT: 8/10
Johnny Sharp / Classic Rock Magazine (December 2014)
Ohio has always been a hot bed for good ol’ American rock ‘n’ roll, so it’s no surprise this Toledo five-piece have it flowing through their veins. The depth and maturity of their self-titled debut is absolutely stunning. They sound like they’ve been together for years. Singer Kevin Chez is a force to be reckoned with and is perfectly suited for blues-based rock. He growls through the lead track “Train” like he’s sung it all his life nailing its nuances and subtle inflections. Guitarists Bill McCullough and John Keller are Chez’s counterparts squeezing every note out of their six string axes. It’s with pure energy they fuse together in the southern blues soaked “Whiskey Woman” as it heats up the amplifier and roars from the speakers. Drummer Josh Laforge and bassist Chris Graham hold the whole thing together with a tight rhythmic structure that’s as much about groove as it is density. When the four lock together it’s a classic guitar-driven hard rock reflective of Foghat, Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet.
Their often-overlooked sound production gives Snake Head Ritual a full and balanced sonic palette. From the slow burner “Tell Me” to the gospel-tinged “Lay Your Burdens Down” and riff-o-rama of “Smile”, the texture and instrument level is broad and consistent. It’s that attention to detail that elevates the songcraft making the music that much more memorable. The disc is built around several high-octane boogie numbers including the staccato monster “She’s A Shaker”, the swagger-filled “Give” and the retro flashback “Northern Boogie”. The lyrics are intelligent and often full of humor like the party line, “1987 thrash metal was king and everybody was head bangin” from the afore mentioned “Northern Boogie”. The axe-slinging “Heartless” stirs up dust when it steps outside the boogie and thrashes about with electrifying gusto. Eric Oblander of Five Horse Johnson lays down some serious harmonica throughout the record’s ten tracks, but it is in the closing “Poor Robert’s Lament” that he sets the house a fire.
Todd K. Smith - The Electric Beard (June 2014)
Snake Head Ritual are an American Blues rock band from Toledo, Ohio who's Classic Southern Rock meets Blues direction
makes them appealing to fans of both the Blues and Rock music genres. Snake Head Ritual is powered by Kevin Chez on vocals,
Bill McCullough on lead and rhythm guitars, John "Special K" Keller on lead and rhythm guitars Chris Graham on bass and Brian Fedor
on drums. The band's self titled debut is loaded with music for people who like the sound of an engine roaring or the feeling obtained
by following a cold beer with a shot of good whiskey. I'll put it another way, Snake Head Ritual is the type of band that will gladly kick
your ass, and then wait for you to say thank you! No filler just wicked blues based southern rock with a junkyard dog attitude mixed
in with an awesome set of songs. The lit match that ignites the fuse of this powderkeg is "Train", a whiskey soaked soul shaker that
features Eric Oblander from Five Horse Johnson on harp. Talking about shakers, the band serves up, "She's A Shaker", a song that will
definitely get your adrenaline pumping through your veins in no time! Fans of the guitar meets the Hammond B3 will want crank up,
“Lay Your Burdens Down”. The whole album is a powerhouse! Other highlights include, "Whiskey Woman", "Smile", "Northern Boogie"
and the ode to Blues legend, Robert Johnson with "Poor Robert's Lament". Smoking hot southern blues rock served up with healthy
doses of attitude and swagger. I'm crossing my fingers that Snake Head Ritual put out another album ASAP. Go ahead, checkout the
band's debut release, turn the knobs on your stereo up really, really loud, kick back with your favorite brew and your favorite smoking
product and let Snake Head Ritual's music blow you away!
- Highly Recommended!
Tony Sison@ The Dedicated Rocker Society / All Access Magazine (June 2014)
Right from the fret meandering and harmonica which introduces "Train", you know that Snake Head Ritual are gonna serve up something of serious Blues worth. Although it doesn't prepare you for just how damn potent the ten tracks on this self titled debut turn out to be. If you like your Blues to Rock then you're gonna want to break out your ceremonial garb and take part in this ritualistic delight!
From that moaning harmonica and those wailing frets, "Train" twists and dives through a mighty riff that merely sets the scene for more to follow, "She's A Shaker" jabbing and slamming a gargantuan groove that completely takes over your mind. Singer Kevin Chez commands from behind the mic, his voice having the verve of Neil Fallon (Clutch), while still somehow possessing the power and clarity of Paul Stanley (Kiss), back when he could sing... However the fact that he adds a third guitar to the already potent twin attack of Bill McCulloch and John "Special K" Keller should let you know that no matter how impressive Chez's singing is, or how rock solid the bass work of Chris Graham and drumming of Josh Laforge proves, it is the riff that's rightly proclaimed king here.
"Lay Your Burdens Down" is old Whitesnake on steroids, "Give" stomps, strides and swaggers with well earned confidence, while "Whiskey Woman" is every bit as dirty and guiltily pleasurable as you'd hoped. Add to that the frantic AC/DC gone Southern of "Northern Boogie" and the poignant tale of "Poor Robert's Lament", where Blues master Robert Johnson is paid tribute to in a manner we've never heard before and the SHR debut really begins to reveal its inner strength and outer joy. Amazingly the percussive storm of "Smile" and rolling wall of guitar that is "Heartless" maintain the standard and leave you gasping with delight as they steamroller over you through a hard hitting stab of melody and uncannily loose precision.
This is a well oiled machine, with Snake Head Ritual providing riffs that bite into the mind and don't let go, solos which slap you to attention time and again and grooves that are so fat that your speakers will need planning permission to squeeze them into your house. All the while leaving you convinced that the only down side to the whole thing is that at some point it has to end. Until you hit play all over again! And you will.
Steven Reid / Sea Of Tranquility (January 2014)
Ok, I may be partial, but Grooveyard Records have a special knack for digging out outstanding bluesy, riff-oriented great bands! Blindstone, Gugun Power Trio, Tony Spinner, Plankton, the list goes on. Snake Head Ritual is another name to add to that list. This band taps on that good old vintage riff based southern rock vein of classic bands like Point Blank, Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet, with a strong touch of vintage Cactus at times. The riffage is unmistakeably seventies and the vocal delivery from Kevin Chez sounds like it could have been ripped from an old unreleased early seventies recording by Fanny Adams or Truk, back when the singer showed some true feeling in his vocal delivery. The riffs are timeless and the delivery is stellar. This band grooves, twists and turns and there’s no damn way I can sit still while listening. Ten great tracks is all it takes to make an album that makes you long for the next release. Montrose did it, Mountain did it, now Snake Head Ritual has done it!
Janne Stark / Stark Music Reviews (December 2013)
Snake Head Ritual, you can almost envision the southern rock vibe from the name alone. Their debut album shows a group influenced by the ’60-’70s rock of bands like the Allman Brothers, The Rolling Stones, and Thin Lizzy. However, you can clearly hear the influences of blues greats and even a tiny bit of some more recent bands like the southern metal band Corrosion of Conformity.
Hailing from Toledo, Ohio the band has worked hard to craft over the last two years on the local scene a sound that is unique yet still pays tribute to the great bands that came before them. The vocals of Kevin Chez are commanding, the twin guitar attack of Bill McCullough and John “Special K” Keller is superb, and the formidable rhythm section of Chris Graham (Bass) and Josh LaForge Drums all combine into one excellent album full of originals that stand up against some of the greatest southern rock.
“Train” starts things off with some superb harmonica work from Five Horse Johnson’s Eric Oblander which permeates the whole song and sets the stage for the rest of this album of killer blues based hard rock. “Lay Your Burdens Down” will be featured on the upcoming BBR4 sampler. Filled with a huge sound of multiple guitars and some Wurlitzer organ added to beef up the rhythm section this track delivers. “Give” starts with a bluesy guitar line but quickly packs a powerful riff that could come straight off CoC’s Deliverance album, combine that with the powerful vocals of Kevin Chez and you’re in hard rock headbanger territory until the guitar solos kick in and bring you solidly back into blues rock.
Anyone who thinks this isn’t a band clearly rooted in the history of the blues only has to listen to the final track – “Poor Robert’s Lament.” An astounding rocker that tells the story of Robert Johnson told like you’ve never heard it before. After some great solo work in the middle of the song, everything takes a moody break as we relive Robert’s poisoning at the hands of a jealous lover. You can almost feel the devil rising up to reclaim his soul.
If you like your blues served with a side of substantial rock then you’re going to love Snake Head Ritual. It is a feast of retro hard blues from the opening harmonica wail of the first track until the quite literal end of Robert.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- Lay Your Burdens Down
- Poor Robert’s Lament
The Big Hit
- Lay Your Burdens Down
Kevin O'Rourke - Blues Rock Review (November 2013)
Snake Head Ritual takes us back to a time when rock was rock and guitar gods ruled. Their new album leads its listeners to a festive celebration of kick-em-in-the-butt rock-n-roll -- complements of Kevin Chez, vocalist extraordinaire, and the twin threat of Bill McCullough and John Keller, who use their guitars to bring the house down. If you like your main dish meaty and heavy, with a side of the blues -- pick up this CD and play it LOUD. And if Snake Head Ritual has anything to say about it -- and they do! -- Guitar-oriented rock is here to stay.
Steve Rosen - Author (October 2013)
I'm spinning the SHR disc as we speak, and it's f*ing rocking me SENSELESS!!! What an amazing disc! Great riffage, great musicianship, great production, and AWESOME vocals! But first and foremost, it sounds like FUN! The vibe is incredibly strong on this disc. Sounds like everybody were having the time of their lives in the studio!!! This disc is just an American Rock n' Roll PARTY, from beginning to end! Snake Head Ritual just made a new fan!!!
Martin J. Andersen - Blindstone Guitarist/Vocalist (October 2013)
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