When an album takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride by traversing musical styles and leaves you excited for more, you have a combination that is dangerous. Jefferson Missouri’s Shaman’s Harvest seeks to achieve this with their latest release Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns out from Mascot Label Group. To find out how they did, read the review after the jump.
With a majority of my reviews, I give you the set up before breaking things down. You can’t quite do that with an album unless there is a concept involved. That being said, Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns hits you from multiple angles. From the opening track and lead single Dangerous you know that Shaman’s Harvest is going to put all the cards on the table. It gives you the anthem for the album and the band as a whole; when you have nothing left, you are at your most dangerous. It is that fighting spirit that is noticeable from song to song even with all the stylistic changes.
While recording the album, the lead singer Nathan Hunt was battling throat cancer. So for the band to be playing as if they may not get to make another album makes the performances that much more appropriate and inspiring. His vocal range is on full display and better than on previous albums thanks to his vocal coach.
Hero and In The End are songs which could be considered biographical to a degree. The tracks Here It Comes and Country As Fuck (which has a reference to the band Pantera) present a high energy that begs you to move. Contemplative ballads The End Of Me and Silent Voice slow the album down at just the right moments and allow you to breathe. When the cover of Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana starts, you may think to yourself, I don’t know about this. The song is sure to divide people. It is a bold choice that I applaud and enjoy for its creativity. Nathan Hunt told me in a recent interview it was picked because it is a song they have listened to while on the road and on tour.
Ten Million Voices simultaneously reminds me of the bands Shinedown and 10 years while still relying on a hallmark of Shaman’s Harvest the imagery and vivid lyrics. It is a song I can see the crowds getting into. This could also be said of the songs Blood In The Water and In Chains which hav a definite blues and gospel vibe about them; a reflection of the band’s roots and upbringing. The album closes out with an extended acoustic version of their breakout hit Dragonfly and ends things on a soaring note.
Sale’s pitch: If you are looking for an album that has the band pouring out its heart and soul on every track while attacking your musical senses from multiple genres, then Shaman’s Harvest’s Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns is the record for you. It is an in your face, swamp rock record which is going to be like blood in the water for old and new fans alike. It is a ride you will want to take again and again. Isn’t that how roller coasters should be?
If you have had a chance to listen to the album, tell us what you think in the comments.