Before I start this, I want to apologize.
Here’s the story: I sent an email to ask for an interview with Steve Vai. The publicist, Steve (not Vai) said sure, and how about a review/interview with Josh from Shaman’s Harvest, too. He sent me the new album, Rebelator, and I listened to the first 30 seconds of the first song, Under Your Skin. Of course I wrote back and said, “Yes!”
So, as I begin this Reaction, all I know about the band is their name (Shaman’s Harvest), the name of their album (Rebelator), and the name of their rhythm guitarist (Josh). I purposely avoided looking them up on the interwebs, in order for this to be authentic. Oh, Steve told me they’ve been around for about 20 years. I’m gonna blame it on the fact that I lived in Korea for most of their career. Shitty excuse, I know, but it’s all I’ve got.
If you’re new to Let’s Rock, welcome! I’m glad you are here. Our reviews are a little different than on other sites. It’s a First Reaction review, meaning I just chill out with Geddy The Rock Dog, turn the album up loud and write shit down as I listen to it for the first time.
I’m looking forward to this. I love new music, and learning about ‘new’ bands.
Let’s do this!
Under Your Skin
OOOOH WEE! That’s a cool intro riff. This might get heavy. Wow! That’s a different voice…I like it. Great chorus. It has a nice singalong quality to it. I’m a beginner drummer at best, but I love listening to drums. This dude, is good. Awesome breakdown after second chorus. GUITAR SOLO!!! Woohoo. Pretty chill, which actually works for the song. Don’t always have to play a billion notes, just make it fit the song. Ouch! That last scream might have put the singer out of commission for a week or so. That’s a nice way to be introduced to a band that’s been around for a long time, but I have never heard. Hang on. I’m gonna google these guys, so I dont have to keep saying ‘the singer’, or ‘the drummer’.
Here’s what I found out, according to the always accurate Wikipedia:
- Nathan Hunt – lead vocals
- Josh Hamler – rhythm guitar
- Derrick Shipp – lead guitar
- Adam Zemanek – drums
- The bass player is a mystery
Toe The Line
Chunky! I really like how the band turns it down for the verses. Focus on the voice. I really like these guys. They sound a lot different than I imagined. You can always look the fool when you base what you think a band will sound like by their name. They are definitely down-tuned. My innards are rattling. Another nice breakdown with acoustic guitar. A solid song. No solo yet, but just a well-crafted tune. That was a quick one. Solid riff, great vocals, awesome drummer. The invisible bass player is holding down the super low end.
That guitar sound is a beast. Verse is very relaxed. Acoustic guitar, but I’m sure it’ll raunch out soon. Yep! Still kind of ballady, but, the distorted guitar gives it a nice grit. I really like Nathan’s range. It’s a deeper voice that really works with this music. Another very controlled solo that fits the song well. Wow, that seemed short too. Under three and a half minutes. It was nice.
Acoustic intro. This band has a lot of different grooves. I like how they transition from all out power to very cool, chilled out melody driven tunes, This is my favourite so far. Solo is very bluesy and to the point, oh Derick’s rippin’ now. Big gang vocals on the post solo chorus. This song rocks. Nathan is just tearing it up. As a kind-of-guitarist, there’s not a lot that makes me say, ‘Holy shit! These guys are incredible musicians!’ There is, however, a lot that makes me say, ‘Holy shit! This band is freaking awesome!’ And really, that’s what most people want when they listen to music. It’s not always about sweep picking, arpeggios and Peart-like drums. Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff and listen to it a lot. Shaman’s Harvest is all about the song. I’ve got to find and listen to their other albums.I’m hooked.
Damn, that voice is deep. Now it’s high. I don’t really know how to describe this music. I guess it doesn’t matter how you label it, as long as you like it. They must spend a lot of time on vocals. There’s a ton of background singing on this track. Super cool breakdown with piano. This is so chill. A lot is happening in this song. It will be interesting to see if they can pull it off live. Again a short song. Rats! I was really into this one and the fade bummed me out. I wanted more. Actually, I just checked. It was almost 4 minutes. Time flies when you’re really into something. Great tune. Great album, so far. Great band.
Judging by the title, I’m guessing this a song about a girl. Down-tuned heaviness. This is super bluesy. ‘Tell me your dirty little secrets, tell me what you wanna be, I’m a snake within your garden, When your my Lilith….’ Couldn’t understand the rest. Slide solo. Bad ass bluesiness. Good lord. Please play this live. And please play it in Ottawa at some point. Fuck, this is good! Dudes, where has your music been all my life. I am so into this band now. THAT is the best song I’ve heard in a long time. Unreal.
This can’t be Nathan. Very eerie. Acoustic again. No drums yet. Nice little acoustic solo. That was short. I kept waiting for it to kick in, but it didn’t. And that’s cool. Keep em guessing. I love that they are always changing their style for each song. The first couple of songs, I thought they were a metal band. Then they got into a couple of Blues numbers, and then this. I actually think this would be a cool set opener. It would throw the audience for a loop.
Another cool acoustic blues riff. I keep wanting to compare them to another band, but I can’t. Very original. Speeding up now with a driving distorted riff, but the slide guitar is still in there. Lots of ‘woah oh’s’ during the chorus. Very cool ending. Beautiful acoustic to wrap it up. Very cool tune. That would be a cool opener too.
Picking it up for a couple tunes to wrap it up, I imagine. I’m gonna ask Josh about tunings on Thursday when we chat. It seems low to me. Any questions you want me to ask him? Leave a comment and I’ll get your question in. This one definitely rocks harder than the previous ones. I can’t get over the background vocals. They sound amazing. And there are a lot of them. Too short. It’s like Vasoline by Stone Temple Pilots. Just getting into it, boppin’ my head and it’s over. Leave ’em wanting more. Heavy, rocking tune.
I still haven’t done any research on these guys. Where are they from? I’ll find out after the album is done. Wishing Well is another rocker that builds as the first verse goes along. There is a really nice mix on the whole album. Everything is right in your face. These drums sound like cannons. Waiting for a ripper of a guitar solo, but not sure it’s gonna happen. Oooh, another cool little breakdown. These guys are good at transitions. Wonderful songwriting. I hear more slide, and is that a banjo? Maybe they’re from the south? No solo. I think that’s my only beef with this album, and it’s not important at all, really. I love guitar solos, and, while there are a lot of fills, there aren’t many actual solos. Ah, I’m nitpicking. Shaman’s Harvest is proving you don’t need them in every song.
Before I even start this one, I have to admit, I’m huge fan of the last songs on albums. I have always loved the last track. Maybe the bands/artists are saving their best for last, but with the music I grew up on, The final cut is the deepest. Ha. I think it started with Maiden’s Powerslave. Rime of the Ancient Mariner was worth the album price alone. Call of Ktulu and Damage Inc. by Metallica, Judas Priest’s Devil’s Child, Rock & Roll Machine from Triumph, Natural Science by Rush. The list goes on. Let’s see what Shaman’s Harvest has to offer with Bird Dog
Very Southern rock sounding. Something about a deathbed. It’s pretty good. Some more slide. They have to be from the South. Wow, there’s a super cool break in the second verse. Everyone is coming back in now. ‘Bring out your guns, Put down your guns’. It’s like a western. The drums seem super loud. Oh, he’s good. I need to practice more. Now, it’s ‘Bring out your dead, lay down your dead.’ Someone got killed. Awesome ending. Not the best song on the album, but it’s up there. Soooooo bluesy.
I just checked: SH is from Jefferson City, Missouri and started in 1996. I have absolutely no excuse for not having heard of them. My bad.
Rebelator is right up there with best albums I’ve heard in a while. The songs are extremely well-written, the production is top notch, and Shaman’s Harvest plays like a well oiled machine. The fact that every song has a different vibe and sound to it adds to the listening pleasure.
As I mentioned before, I haven’t heard any of their other albums, so I don’t know if they’ve always been this eclectic, but this album hooked me and I am definitely going to check out the rest. This has been an incredibly nice surprise.
Shaman’s Harvest will be on tour with Theory of a Dead Man in February and March. Make sure you check ’em out.
Last Call for Goose Creek (1999)
March of the Bastards (2006)
Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns (2014)
Red Hands Black Deeds (2017)
(With Theory of a Deadman)
2/15 Huntsville, AL Mars Music Hall
2/17 Brandon, MS City Hall Live
2/18 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
2/19 Little Rock, AR The Hall
2/21 San Antonio, TX Tobin Center
2/22 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall
2/23 Dallas, TX The Factory Deep Ellum
2/25 Oklahoma City, OK Criterion
2/26 Miami, OK Buffalo Run Casino
2/28 Mobile, AL Soul Kitchen
3/01 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theatre
3/02 Tampa, FL Hard Rock Event Center
3/05 Ft. Myers, FL The Ranch
3/06 Orlando, FL Hard Rock
3/08 Chattanooga, TN The Signal
3/09 Charlotte, NC Fillmore
3/11 Raleigh, NC The Ritz
3/12 Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues
3/13 Charleston, SC Charleston Music Hall
5/19 Jacksonville, FL Welcome To Rockville
Note: All appearances other than Welcome To Rockville supporting Theory Of A Deadman