Released: 2013, Frontiers Records
Back in the early to mid-80’s after an enviable string of six moderately successful albums, David Coverdale fired everybody, revamped Whitesnake and walked off into the multi-platinum sunset. The rest of the lads in the band have been churning out music ever since, namely for the last 30 years.
While I am delighted that these veteran rockers are still going strong, I can’t help wonder why they keep re-inventing the same thing over and over. First it was The Snakes (1997-1998) and then it was The Company Of Snakes (1998-2002) then it was M3 (2002-2005) and now it is Snakecharmer! Four bands comprised basically all the same ex-Whitesnake dudes, specifically Micky Moody and Neil Murray. To complicate matters even more, Stefan vocalist from the Swedish Whitesnake-styled band, Snakes In Paradise, sang with The Company Of Snakes! You need a full-time snake wrangler to keep track of all the changes.
So Micky and Neil are at it again. ‘It’ being writing and recording awesome 70’s styled Melodic Hard Rock! Snakecharmers self-titled debut is much like all of his other projects, classical 70’s Hard Rock with a blues influence. The hour long 12 cut album offers little in the way of surprises and the songs are virtually interchangeable with his other projects over the years. Even the album cover is a huge nod to the classic 80’s Whitesnake covers, the snaky logo, the circle emblem, the snakeskin etc. The production is warm and inviting and the guitar tone also full and round. Snakecharmer is full of warm bluesy licks, slow to mid-tempo rockers, broken hearted lyrics about the women who done them wrong and hard living. The album is laid back but still guitar driven with a nice layer of keyboards adding to the sonic template. The vocals of Ousey of whiskey-warm with lots of character and personality.
Upon further investigation this is one hell of a super-group with ex-members of Thunder, Magnum, Ozzy, Wishbone Ash, Heartland and of course the aforementioned Whitesnake and various follow up bands. I listened to the this album one last time before writing this review, on a Sunday morning, mildly hung-over after getting home late from an raging Into Eternity/Divinity show in Calgary, and the smooth, rock tunes were the perfect tonic. Classic Hard rock at it’s finest. My rating might seem a bit high for our Metal audience but fans of Melodic Metal and our section ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ should crank that rating up to a 4.5.