When someone asks me my favorite active bands, I always mention Wailin Storms. They do necessitate the Decibel disclaimer: they’re not an extreme metal band. But their music is heavy, their lyrics haunting, and their live show furious. They have constantly sharpened their Southern Gothic doom punk since 2012, when lead vocalist/guitarist Justin Storms unveiled the project’s cemetery blues with Bone Colored Moon. Over the decade since, Storms moved the project to North Carolina and has released knockout records at a steady clip averaging two years. Now I’m honored to share the new Wailin Storms album from Gilead Media and Antena Krzyku, The Silver Snake Unfolds. You can listen to the full album now, ahead of the album’s official July 22nd release date.
“In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the album’s stripped down sound and lyrical sweet sorrow. The drowning metaphor immediately fills the listener’s lungs with thematic heaviness so they sink with the narrator. Death and isolation are ever-present in Storms’ writings, and “Sunday Morning Cemetery” continues that macabre tradition. Shrouded head to toe in pitch-black reverb, The Silver Snake Unfolds achieves the effect of a 42+ minute fever dream. Lead guitarist Warner leans into the band’s jagged noise rock foundation on the title track and “Broken Into Three.” Think Scratch Acid or The Birthday Party with a howling doomsday preacher. From the seductive pull of “Drag” to the lachrymose lullaby of “Concrete Covers Dead Lovers,” it’s an album of hallucinogenic heartache. The entire album slithers with tragic beauty, lit by lightning flashes of cathartic distortion. “Carolina Moon” closes the record with a searing, stomping finale of god-damning doom. The Silver Snake Unfolds is a diverse collection of songs populated with specters and graveyard poetry that I zealously recommend.
“The Silver Snake Unfolds was the beneficiary of a level of focus that unfortunately our [other] albums just couldn’t have,” Storms admits. “Not being able to tour or play shows due to the Covid lockdown was a very difficult situation. But the one positive was a distraction-free writing process where we could really hone in on the different aspects of each track. We took over a year crafting each song and really developing something we were confident in and proud of.”
“One of the interesting circumstances of all that rehearsal was a night in the summer of 2021,” Storms continues. “We were trying to get into our practice space, only to be greeted by a copperhead snake blocking the entrance in front of the door. Copperheads are fairly aggressive, venomous snakes that are easily startled. They won’t kill you if you get bit, but you’re not going to have a good time. Luckily, our lead guitarist Todd [Warner] has a “snake guy” who came out, wrangled the little fella and took him to a safer spot away from people. While we wouldn’t say the album name has anything to do with that specific event, it felt like a sign that The Silver Snake Unfolds was the right choice.”