It seems incredible that it has been 5 years since the last release from Shaman’s Harvest but their last album ‘Red Hands Black Deeds’ was indeed released in 2017.

‘Rebelator’ seems to have been born out of extremes of hardship and it certainly does have the feeling of music coming from a dark, but hopeful, place.

After ‘Red Hands…’ the band were exhausted from both the recording process and nearly two years of constant touring and Nathan Hunt (vocals), Josh Hamler & Derrick Shipp (guitars) & Adam Zemanek (drums) took time out to rebuild their rehearsal space in Jefferson City.
When that was finished and they began to start putting ‘Rebelator’ together, more problems got in the way:  “A tornado ripped through our town, 2 miles from our studio, leveling everything in its path” recalls guitarist Josh Hamler.  “Luckily, no one was killed”. “There was so much stop and go," adds Hunt. "There was a flood. Then somebody would have to go home, or we'd have a fucking tornado."
 “Or we'd run out of money," Hamler adds with a laugh. "It was like Murphy's law at one point—like, Jesus, what else is going to go wrong in the making of this record?"
Of course, the pandemic didn’t help and nor did Hunt having to make decisions over having his leg amputated after a construction accident 10 years before that left him in constant pain. He had already gotten over throat cancer a few years before but this was nearly the breaking point.

But, out of hardship, the stong survive and the new album is more than just survival.
As you might expect, there is massive power in their playing but the interlude seems to have added a freshness and a crispness to their sound.
They don’t come over as typical bangers and riffmeisters, there is real melody and no shortage of skill in their playing. Zemanek’s drumming has a much sharper focus to it than many similar bands and Hunt is a fine vocalist with a voice that is actually capable of carrying a range of emotions.

It is one of the albums this year that have opened my eyes to the real winners and losers from the pandemic. Those bands and artists that have used the downtimes to refocus and develop and those who have just bemoaned their lot and hit the pause button for two years.

Shaman’s Harvest are back with a blast and a great album too. Well worth a good, long look.

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