Sandrider have been one of my favorite bands ever since I discovered their basically flawless 2013 album Godhead. I loved the energy, the raw power in the vocals and instrumentation. “Ruiner” will be burned in my head until I die. Though not quite metal, it felt heavier and louder than pretty much anything else I had been listening to at the time, and I was in a metal renaissance at that time, discovering the wildest, darkest bands I could. Yet here was this stoner-ish, desert rock/punk trio from Seattle effectively wiping the floor with all of them. What I’m saying is, don’t expect any sort of impartiality with this premiere, which I’m still reeling from even getting the opportunity to do.
With all of the above in mind, I’m sure you can assume how excited I was when they announced their next album Enveletration, a portmanteau of ‘envelop’ and ‘penetration’. It comes out on March 3 through Satanik Royalty Records, and while they’ve already shown off the stellar “Alia” from that album, we’re here to show you another track, “Circles”.
The band themselves offer some key context for the track:
‘Lyrically, “Circles” condemns the circular logic used by systemic power structures that divide rather than unite people, and asks: Is it possible for humans to evolve into a species that cares about each other and the world? Musically it’s a heavy ripper that makes us feel like frost giants when we play it.‘
An apt description if there ever was one. This is classic Sandrider – catchy, driving, awesome guitar tones, sing-along vocals, and a cohesion that would make industrial strength adhesive jealous. The theme of “Circles” is quite apparent from the lyrics and easily relatable with even a passing understanding of the sociopolitical landscape of the last several years. Everyone talks in circles, avoiding tough (or hell, even easy-ass) questions, and sowing confusion and distrust with scapegoating. The bridge and hook are an anthemic callout to that sort of hypocrisy:
‘I thought we moved ahead
But turned around instead
See right through it
Saying one thing and
The great Cat Costa-Jones wrote the band’s newest bio and introduction for this album cycle, and she does such an awesome job of capturing the same sort of feelings I get from Sandrider as a fellow fan, like by saying ‘the band sounds like the soundtrack to victory‘, something I’ve always felt but never been able to so succinctly or simply explain. Almost every track they put out just feels like the triumph of good and the toppling of ill-gotten power – a steamrolling of social poison. I’ve never known this group to have a single weak moment. They’re always on, and “Circles” is just more proof of that.
The biggest thanks humanly possible to Sandrider and their people for reaching out and setting this up, and to our PR pal Toni who knew how much something like this would mean to me. Sandrider are well, well worth your time and energy in the form of a like/follow on Facebook and Instagram, as well as a Bandcamp deep dive into their back catalog which concerns itself a lot with Dune‘s universe if you’re into that. Enveletration comes out on March 3 via Satanik Royalty Records, from whom you can get a nice gatefold vinyl of the album (note the slightly later release date of 3/17), and I for one couldn’t be more hyped. If that’s not enough for you, check out singer/guitarist Jon Weisnewski’s brain-tickling cybergrind/death metal project Nuclear Dudes in the meantime!
Band photo by John Malley