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November 19, 2013 at 4:30 AM

Sandrider’s ‘Godhead’ loud and uneven | New recordings

Sandrider81TGkARhnkL__SL1500_Sandrider, ‘Godhead’ (Good to Die)

When Sandrider’s self-titled, seven-track debut was released at the end of 2011, it was rightfully celebrated by local critics and heavy rock enthusiasts alike for its forceful riffage and creative use of fantasy imagery. At that point, Sandrider was a side project, the creative offshoot of three veteran Seattle metal musicians: Jon Weisnewski and Nat Damm of legendary local hardcore band Akimbo, and Jesse Roberts of The Ruby Doe.

When Akimbo announced its breakup the following year, Sandrider became the trio’s focus, and the band poured its efforts into “Godhead,” its second album.

Much of ‘Godhead’ sounds like a band re-starting from scratch. The simple stomps-and-claps and repetitive guitar notes of opener “Ruiner” sound like they never got much past the jam stage. The same goes for “Overwatch,” and “Scalpel.” Things get better on the growler, “Castle,”  then take a dip mid-album when the initially-promising title track detours into ill-fitting vocal harmonies.

The short breakdowns toward the end of “Scalpel” and “Gorgon” are refreshing segments, and the stadium-rock “Tides” puts an interesting twist on Sandrider’s hard-hitting formula. But as a whole, “Godhead” is uneven and far more predictable than the inventive progressions found on the first album, not to mention the members’ other projects.

Todd Hamm, Special to The Seattle Times

Sandrider celebrates the release of its new album at 8 p.m. Nov. 30 at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $10 advance (206-709-9467 or www.neumos.com).

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "Godhead", New Recordings, Sandrider

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