Midnite Snake

Shaving the Angel

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Midnite Snake's Shaving the Angel is a rampaging juggernaut of prog rock, math rock and blistering psych-punk noise. That said, it's a hell of a fun ride, as long as you keep your hands and arms inside and hold on to your hats and glasses. The Pittsburgh trio conjure up a shitstorm of an aural assault, derived from the school of Burmese and the Melvins and tempered with some acid/Krautrock and Japanese psych, and at their most frenzied peaks they sound like they're as much in control as a runaway roller coaster battling a bucking bronco in the middle of a tornado. And again, it's a rewarding journey for those who like their instrumental rock to go down like molten shards of broken glass. Metaphors aside, the album opens with the brutal nine-minute skronk-fest "Cruise Control," which never lets up for even a second and careens directly into the ten-minute hobbit-rock epic "Sacred Mist," where we get a momentary reprieve from the mayhem for a slow-build of heavily delayed guitar licks and lumbering bass which, upon having lulled us into a catatonic trance, then proceeds to bash us over the head with a meaty coda. And so it goes for the subsequent riff-monster "Bigfoot '69," but then the band slams on the brakes just to mess with us with the positively pretty and pastoral freak-folk workout "In the Grass," which gives a sly nod and wink to Tangerine Dream at their most baroque. We aren't left tripping in the woods for long as the title track storms in to drag us screaming back into the fray, coming off like Cream and Blue Cheer overdosed on steroids, followed closely by the 25-minute closer "Supermodified" that rivals any stoner-sludge outfit out there, such as Sleep or Earthless, for its plodding intensity. And we are left spent and exhausted, possibly dying of our wounds, but happy and content in the thought that we fought the good fight.

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