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Mandel, Harvey: Snake Attack

Harvey Mandel may not be a household name amongst rock guitar players but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be. Harvey was a fixture of the Chicago Blues scene and released his first album Cristo Redentor in 1968 after moving to the Bay area. Shortly after he joined Canned Heat and played Woodstock in 1969. In the mid '70s he almost became a member of The Rolling Stones and contributed to their classic Black and Blue album released in 1976. He has played with blues greats Albert King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy and many others. Add to that his numerous solo albums and his resume is impressive to say the least.

It had been twenty years since Mandel had released new music but that all changed with the release of Snake Pit in late 2016. His latest effort Snake Attack, which was actually written a few years ago is really quite varied, especially when you consider this is an instrumental album. Electronic beats and a Middle Eastern sound highlight the title track which begins the album in fine style. Some excellent guitar licks in this one. "Packin" almost has a tribal Talking Heads feel with its brand of funky alternative pop. More fantastic guitar playing can be heard. The guitar tones are more distorted on the fiery fusion of "Freak Of Dawn", in direct contrast to the pretty guitar led ballad "A Luscious Life". "Criminal Intent" is a more ethereal offering with liquid like guitar manipulations whereas "Super Squid" has a more electronica influenced sound. "Exotic Predator" is one of my favourite tracks, especially the violin orchestrations amidst the biting fretwork.

If Mandel is a new name to you I urge you to check him out. If you are already familiar you know what to expect. His playing is soulful and gritty and always loaded with feel making Snake Attack a must have for all fans of guitar-led rock music.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing:
1. Snake Attack (3:16)
2. Packin' (3:04)
3. Freak Of Dawn (3:02)
4. A Luscious Life (3:24)
5. Sinister (3:34)
6. Criminal Intent (3:14)
7. Super Squid (2:59)
8. Exotic Predator (3:33)
9. Body Beast (3:02)
10. Keeping The Faith (4:28)

Added: August 29th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 442
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Mandel, Harvey: Snake Attack
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-08-29 08:13:59
My Score:

Harvey Mandel has long been one of the more respected guitarists around among fellow musicians, but sadly never really caught on with more mainstream audiences, despite his having played with Canned Heat, John Mayall, and a brief time with The Rolling Stones. Snake Attack is his first new album in many years, and sees the six string veteran delivering a variety of tones and styles that showcase his stellar abilities. Funk, blues, rock, and Middle Eastern flavors pop up throughout this new solo release, the guitar slinger letting loose with some tasty licks on "Packin", the crunchy "Freak of Dawn", the Jeff Beck inspired "Sinister", and a mix of funk, electronica, and fuzz on the wild "Super Squid".

Though it's barely over 35-minutes long, Snake Attack is a fun listen and not your normal instrumental guitar outing by any means. Let's hope that Harvey doesn't go into hiding for another 20 years. Recommended.



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