by Robert Bell
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Little Rock's Snakedriver kicks up a brutal, misanthropic hybrid of hardcore and sludge metal. They've got a split album out now with Tennessee's Laser Flames on the Great Big News, who played at Mutants of the Monster II a few weeks back (pick it up at the show for $8).
Over three songs, Snakedriver showcases a broader, bigger, meaner sound that's a step up from the demos the band recorded last year, which were already impressive. The band still essentially welds Southern sludge groove onto hardcore thrash violence, but these newer songs are more dynamic, with an awesome slow build on opener "Apex" that reminds me of late great Memphis legends His Hero is Gone.
There's some clean singing that crops up alongside the shredded-throat screams. It's a contrast that works well, partially because it catches you off guard. I'm excited to hear where Snakedriver goes from here.
Also playing are Little Rock hardcore mainstays God City Destroyers and Dakhma, a newer outfit that specializes in "cosmic sand metal."
Check out "Apex" by Snakedriver: