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Shaman’s Harvest - Red Hands Black Deeds album review

Reaping their own harvest

Cover art for Shaman’s Harvest - Red Hands Black Deeds album

We may have our problems with a divided nation and blah blah, but the growing growls of angst from all sectors of the American population can make it hard for a decent, hard-working, Midwestern rock band to get their own grim message across.

Fortunately, Shaman’s Harvest got the basic shape and substance of their post-grunge southern hard-rock style down on 2014’s Smokin’ Hearts And Broken Guns. They’ve even survived the replacement of their lead guitarist and drummer without any lasting damage.

On Red Hands Black Deeds they set about consolidating their niche into something compulsive and distinctive. Singer Nathan Hunt keeps it carefully focused rather than just letting it all spill out, and producer Keith Armstrong has taught the rest of the band the importance of detail when it comes to maintaining identity. This is evident on the slow grinding Soul Crusher and the more urgent, country tinged Off The Tracks.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.