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Shaman's Harvest - 'Red Hands Black Deeds' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     January 09, 2018    
 
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An album that requires some patience and real attention.

A four-piece from Missouri who formed in 1999, Shaman's Harvest managed to carve out some success for themselves with some independently released albums and singles, charting in the Billboard Top 200 with their song 'Dragonfly' in 2009, before signing with Mascot Records in 2014 to release their fifth album 'Smokin' Hearts & Broken Guns'. The album was made under some seriously stressful conditions as singer Nathan Hunt was diagnosed with throat cancer and was receiving treatment while recording was in process, meaning he would often need several takes before he started delivering his usual classy vocals.

Now recovered, Hunt and the band have reconvened with 'Red Hands Black Deeds' which, rather than follow the template of its predecessor, takes a completely left turn and announces itself as a concept album with some experimental arrangements and instrumentation. The title track opens proceedings with some Tribal percussion with Hunt delivering an ominous Baritone vocal. 'Broken Ones' is more typical Hard Rock fare, while the relentless 'The Come Up' sees Hunt sound like Joe Bonamassa vocally. He stated the breathier tone was a result of his treatment and then spending almost a full year on the road, but in actual fact, it meshes very well with the style of music.

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'A Longer View' is a downbeat piano ballad, while 'Soul Crusher' has a bouncier bass-driven vibe. 'Off The Tracks' is a shuffling Rocker whereas the growling 'The Devil In Our Wake' is dark and brooding. 'Tusk And Bone' is a lighter-waving acoustic ballad before the album then effectively closes out with the Bluesy 'Scavengers'... although there is a fun hidden track called 'Hookers And Blow' tacked on at the end which, according to Hunt, was put there to lighten the mood.

That is a telling remark – I must admit I really didn't like the album at first, it's a very dark and heavy piece and as a concept album, not something you're supposed to skip through. However, repeatedly listening to it, I've started to appreciate it more and enjoy the warm sound the band have obtained from recording it on analogue equipment. It's a brave, eclectic and downbeat record so be prepared, you will need to invest more time into it than its predecessor to really appreciate it. Once you do though, the rewards start becoming apparent. An album that requires some patience and real attention.

James Gaden

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