Funny enough, this album feels like an early birthday present.
Snail has been around for a few decades now, being founded in 1992. 'Feral' is already their fourth album, the follow up to Terminus from 2012. The new album takes the psychedelic hard rock foundations of its predecessor a bit further and comes up with eight vintage rock songs, blending psychedelics with doom, stoner rock and grunge, much to my delight. Furthermore, I really dig these calm, clean vocals and the almost hypnotic vocal line. They provide a great alternative from all the screams and growls that usually roll out of my speakers.
The album opens with 'Building A Haunted House' which immediately sets this band a trippy seventies decor. The song drives on an immersive slow paste and issues a tiny bit of industrial (in the guitars) as well. Yet, it's the vocal harmony and the rhymthic droning of the guitars that make this song such an amazing one. Halfway through it and I'm already highly enthousiastic about Snail. 'Smoke The Deadless' continues this hazy, warm sound, again quite slowly. 'A Mustard Seed' pushes the tempo up a bit, becoming quite a solid rock song.
'Thou Art That' is doom metal for Pink Floyd fans, or Pink Floyd for doom metal fans (this is actually backed up by a Pink Floyd fan who really isn't into doom metal. He likes this album.), whatever you want it to be. This song is a massive, ten minutes lasting epos, combining vintage psychedelic rock with heavy riffs and the same awesome vocals.
Besides the genius of Syd & co, bands like Om, Sleep, Uncle Acid, hell even Tiamat and Dale Cooper Quartet come to mind when I listen to this anthem. Do I need to say how awesome I thing this album is becoming? It grows on the listener, that's for sure. 'Psilocybe' repeats that epic feeling, be it in a full-on metal approach.
And Snail isn't even done there. On 'Born In Captivity' they dig so deep into the history of stoner rock that they end up with a fuzzy blend of punk rock, shoegaze and britpop, but better. If you have no idea what that sounds like, you should buy this album, there's no other way of finding out. 'Derail' throws in a little bit of doom jazz, why not, before going all out on the fuzz and riffs again. That being said, I think this might be one of the most versatile stoner rock / doom albums I've ever heard.
Oh yeah, we forgot all about blues, so leave it up to Snail to do something about that. Yes, closer 'Come Home' is a stoner blues song. I'm not even going into that any further. I've glorified this album to the absolute maximum. My fingers hurt from all the praise they had to write down but fact remains, this album kicks ass. Yes, there's the wall-sound-approach but there's so much more to it. 'Feral' has become a stunning psychedelic trip through the history of instrument-worshipping.