Sandrider – “Scalpel” (Stereogum Premiere)

By Michael Nelson / November 7, 2013 - 11:39 am

Sandrider’s name is borrowed from Frank Herbert’s Dune. As such, they are yet another in a long line of heavy bands looking to fantasy or sci-fi for inspiration, which goes back at least as far as Zeppelin (Tolkien, natch) to second-wave black metallers like Gorgoroth and Burzum (um, also Tolkien) to newer and way-nerdier acts like Stallion (Game Of Thrones) and Caladan Brood (Malazan Book Of The Fallen). Sandrider’s forthcoming sophomore album is titled Godhead, which also follows an appropriate lineage: The word was coined in the late ’80s by Sub Pop founder Jonathan Poneman to describe Soundgarden, who were, to Poneman’s ear (correctly, too): “total fucking godhead.” (The band later borrowed the phrase for T-shirts.) Like Poneman, Sub Pop, Soundgarden, and for that matter Frank Herbert, Sandrider hail from the Pacific Northwest, and their new album very much brings back the sound of godhead grunge, including Sup Pop-era Soundgarden along with the Melvins and KARP. You can also hear some Jesus Lizard and Mclusky/Future Of The Left in there. All of this is to say, it’s pretty close to perfect music; I am right now scrambling my best-of-2013 ballots to figure out not if Godhead belongs on them, but just how high I can honestly slot it having received the album so late in the year. We’re premiering a song from Godhead today, called “Scalpel,” and it’s a fine display of the album’s magnitude and power, although you really gotta hear the thing in full, because it’s so fucking good start to finish. Start now with “Scalpel” and keep spinning it for the next two weeks till Godhead drops.

Sandrider tour dates:

11/10 Vancouver BC @ Rickshaw Theatre w/Red Fang, Bison B.C.
11/30 Seattle, WA @ Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room w/Constant Lovers, Dust Moth
12/07 Portland, OR @ White Owl Social Club w/Gaytheist

Godhead is out 11/19 via Good To Die.