September 28, 2007 | | 3.5

Light Pupil Dilate, Snake Wine

I’ve been playing the hell out of this album, but was initially hesitant to write a review of Atlanta, Georgia based Light Pupil Dilate’s latest Snake Wine. That’s not an indication of the quality on this album, I just felt that it might not be heavy enough to hang with much of the material reviewed on this site. Thankfully, I was convinced otherwise (thanks Drew) and decided to hook a review up.

Snake Wine contains a slew of musical influences from the likes of Slayer, King Crimson, Yes, Hot Water Music and Fugazi. I know that’s quite a range, but they are all present on Light Pupil Dilate’s Lifeforce Records debut. Immediately from the start of the opening track you know you’ve got something a little bit different on your hands. The vocals range from a cleanly shouted delivery to raspy screams and even a small amount from the guttural region. Musically, the band just sound tight — connecting well at just about every point on the disc.

Snake Wine is one of those albums that has enough metal influences that it’s heavy enough for most fans of metal in general, yet smart enough with its own innovative, unique sound to intrigue and excite the listener — it bridges the metal/post-hardcore gap seamlessly.

“Prana” opens with some nice drumming and a memorable opening riff. There’s a touch of Meantime-era Helmet deep in the root of the song. This song sets a nice groove for the rest of the album.

I love the opening guitar work, but it sounds very familiar to me. At any rate, it transitions well from the previous song. At about the 35 second mark the band tears it up proper like before settling into a Fugazi sort of groove. I love the screams and crushing drums that show up throughout this track. It’s just too bad this is the shortest song on the album.

Poly Viral
This one is a bit quicker paced than the previous tracks, with some impressive drum work and riffing. It’s nice to hear a thick bass line flowing behind the scenes as well. There’s some memorable riffs and hooks in the latter half of the song.

Big Open
“Big Open” starts off strong but quickly settles into a nice flowing groove. Again, there’s some crunchy bass rolling through this song.

I’m liking the start to this next track — nice riffs with a bit of an industrial smear covering it. We don’t hear any vocals until just before the two minute mark. The chorus on this one is catchy as hell as well.

“Phlebitis” starts ruff with some beefy riffs and thunderous drums. The same crushing riff appears throughout the track, giving you plenty of reason to get into this album. There is some pummeling drum work toward the end that’s just damn impressive.

Shower Me With Your Love
A little feedback and crunchy bass start off this one as drummer Michael Green beats away. The dual vocal attack on this one is raw and aggressive. This is easily the heaviest track on the disc which is completely opposite of what you would expect from the song title.

Boundary Dissolution
There’s a little stoner vibe to the start of “Boundary Dissolution” with the extremely thick bass. It’s quickly worked in to the song with a memorable bit of guitar work and some inventive drumming. There’s also a good bit of influence from experimental post-hardcore band At the Drive-in present on this track.

The final song on Snake Wine starts off softly but picks up the pace a bit when the vocals kick in. This is a slowly moving, brooding track — much darker than the rest of the album — for a solid 4 minutes before something pissed the band off. The final two minutes are full of spite and aggressive riffing and vocals. It’s a powerful end to a great album.

~ ~ ~

This album may not appeal to many metal heads, but it’s one of those releases that I think has enough of an appeal to bridge that gap effortlessly. I’ve been finding it difficult to remove it from my rotation for a couple of weeks now. I have a feeling it’ll be there for a while to come.

Favorite Tracks:
Shower Me With Your Love

Additional Notes: