Release Date: April 30th 2021. Record Label: Argonauta Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl
Fractal Altar - Tracklisting
1.Mission From God 02:43
2.Nothing Left For You 05:06
3.Not Two 03:49
4.Hold On 03:08
5.The False Lack 04:37
6.When The Tree Spoke 03:55
7.Draining White 05:06
8.Fractal Altar 08:53
Fractal Altar is the first album in 6 Years from Seminal Stoner Rockers Snail and it’s quite a wild ride with the musical stylings and the lyrics the band have written for this album. Snail have always been one of the most daring Stoner Rock bands of the last 13 years since they reformed and releasing a string of well received albums during that time. The band go for OTT Psychedelics and gloomy ideas that leave a dark after-thought with some of the songs especially on the 1st half of the album.
Fractal Altar is a fast-paced affair with the excellent opening two songs - Mission From God and Nothing Left For You. There is a hard-rocking FUZZ Engine under the hood powering the great riffs and sounds contained on both songs. The music moves from Psych Rock to Stoner Rock with a sleazy attitude influenced from 70s Hard Rock and Doom Metal. Though having an infectious attitude helps the band capture a vintage Psych Stoner Rock atmosphere.
Snail embraces their Power-Trio roots as the record has that “Classic Power Trio” sound with each member bringing their “A” game to the party. The album has a streetwise and punk rock attitude for the majority of the songs and the production is “in your face” at times but the album still sounds superb from start to finish especially on the mellower parts of the album.
The album does have a 60s/70s attitude on some of the songs such as Not Two which starts rather sweet and innocent before moving into Proto-Stoner Doom based madness. One of my favourite aspects of the album appears on this song and Snail runs away with that style of music for the rest of the album.
Other great songs are: Hold On, False Luck, Draining White and the superb title track - Fractal Altar which sees Snail for slightly more progressive ideas and leaving the listener ultimately wanting to hear more. Fractal Altar also features an appearance from Ed Mundell (Monster Magnet) on guitars.
As you can see by the album cover, Snail ventures into areas of Psychedelic Spaced Out Rock. So expect a trippy and surreal experience that perhaps only a few bands within the Stoner Rock/Metal scene can deliver and SNAIL are one of those bands.
2015’s Feral still remains my favourite SNAIL record but this album isn’t too far behind. It’s definitely their most inventive record to date and will keep long time devotees of the band richly entertained for a long time to come.
Words by Steve Howe
Fractal Altar is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Argonauta Records now.