Smackhandle - 'Smackhandle' (Self Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Thursday, 19 June 2014 04:00

smackhandlecoverWith strong releases from the likes of American Head Charge, Soil, and Powerman 5000 in the not-too-distant past, you wouldn't be far off the mark if you suggested that the late '90s metal revival is in full swing.


I'm loath to use the term 'nu-metal' given the wide-ranging sonic spectrum explored by the bands conveniently lumped into the sub-genre of choice by music magazines-by-numbers, but that whole late nineties/early noughties metal scene appears to be on the rise, and a little ahead of the usual twenty year cycle rule too.


So, while those bands that once had the might of a music television network that actually played music and a shelf full of music periodicals that seemed to value the music over the advertising money on their sides kick themselves back into gear, there is, surely, room for a new, young band to pilfer the best of those sounds, add a contemporary twist, and stomp its way towards, at the very least, a heap of notoriety.

The band that, for me, is in possession of a soundclash so potent that it appears to have every opportunity to gatecrash this noisy party is Smackhandle.


The five-piece alterno-metal crew from Lincoln have, with their self-released and self-titled album, made an offering to the Rock Gods that is so cocksure, so full of belief in its own qualities, that it is certain to leave a mark on anyone who dares introduce it to their auditory canals.


The more cynical of listeners will hear a heavy Korn influence and dismiss the band with alarming ease, but they will do so at their peril for 'Smackhandle' offers so much more than the obvious nods, odds and sods thrown in the direction of the Bakersfield beat combo.

The crazed approach of vocalist Ashley Harvey spikes a 'Portait of an American Family' era Marilyn Manson aesthetic into the ears at times, while songs like 'Red XIII' introduce a vicious Slipknot-style brutality that leaves the album, and listener, teetering on the brink of sanity.


Every song sounds like it was written at the turn of the millennium and spent the last fifteen years getting honed to perfection. Okay, so things may get a little raw at times but, in production, playing and songwriting terms, the ten-legged Smackhandle machine should feel stoked at just how well its collective vision has been captured on this long player.


So sure are the band of how good they are - it's still promise, of course, but it's dreadlocked head and shoulders above a legion of other bands scared of daring to think so big - that the latter parts of the album are devoted to brooding, moody moments that, you'd think, were beyond the band members' years. They're not.


Smackhandle remind me of a batch of TNT found in the backroom of an abandoned ammunitions warehouse: light the fuse and see if it explodes.....