Wailin Storms steam through darkness, weave broken tales with ‘The Silver Snake Unfolds’

Photo by Andy Marino

There are those movies and stories in which you indulge when it’s dark and hope is bleak as you just try to find a way to get away from your reality. Dusty floors, people weaving through drink and drugs, lives potentially in danger, possibly a ghost in the room. It doesn’t provide much comfort, seeing these stories play out, but your mental security wasn’t really the goal here.

North Carolina-based psyche and noise powerhouse Wailin Storms weaves these types of tales, and they spill over onto their killer second record “The Silver Snake Unfolds,” containing eight tracks that take you on rides through storms and haunted hollows as you watch these stories play out and imitate the tension you feel deep inside. The band—vocalist/guitarist Justin Storms, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Todd Warner, bassist Steve Stanczyk, drummer Mark Oates—unveils an adventure that might make one think more of Nick Cave than anything particularly metallic, but if you don’t think you’re in for heaviness musically and emotionally, you won’t be prepared for the gust that awaits you. This record is dark, dramatic, and explosive, a journey you’ll take over and over, punishment and scars be damned.

“In the Heart of the Sea” is ominous as it dawns, feeling troubled as Storms’ moody singing pushes in as the playing plods, and then the emotions open. “Just you and me on the razor blade, we lay down, down, down,” Storms calls as the playing spirals, and the end bleeds out in a scratchy Hail Mary. “Broken Into Three” lets the drums drive as the guitars jerk, and the vocals yelp. Aggressive tension swells as Storms repeatedly wails, “Get off the streets,” leading to an energy burst that gets faster and louder as it melts away. “Sunday Morning Ceremony” settles in, fog increasing as the spirits set in motion, the pace feeling catchy and meaty. “I feel the cold hand reach inside me,” Storms calls as the playing slinks and burns, the bass plods, and the tempo trickles away. “Drag” gives off a steely western vibe as Storms cries, “Drag me down to the ground.” The playing keeps hypnotizing and liquifying, the situation threatens and grows more volatile, and everything eventually bleeds into the dirt.

“Who Took Our Drugs” lands hard punches as the vocals wail, and dreaminess meets raucous fury, threatening to devour you. Emotions attack as the guitars agitate and scorch, igniting fires and disappearing into echoes. “The Silver Snake Unfolds and Swallows the Black Night Whole” jolts with energy, the guitars swelling and group shouts sending jolts through your body. Foggy undertones obscure your sight, but you can feel the tension strengthening as you battle for safety, letting oceans of blood crust over as Storms emits his final shouts of, “Shake! Break! Shake! Break!” “Concrete Covers Dead Lovers” slowly crawls through the surface, and a gothic storm hovers overhead, promising darkness. “I hear your voice calling,” Storms barks, taking on an Ian Astbury vibe, and then the smoke increases and chokes, dark colors splashing and obscuring your vision. Closer “Carolina Moon” is a fever dream, a dark ghoul that merges into our universe, the playing spreading and glowing. “Sleep by the foot of your bed, even though you’re dead,” Storms calls, feeling dread and longing collect, the guitars bringing massive heat. The final moments pick up and soak in the moonlight, howls generate passion, and the track bleeds into mystery and destruction.

“The Silver Snake Unfolds” touches on something dark and volatile, a seed planted deep within the psyche where things are most likely to end in blood and fire. Wailin Storms have created a new chapter of their sun-scorched, psychologically scarred adventures that reminds that underneath all of the everyday horrors we encounter, there are things buried inside people that are forced into the shadows until they explode. This album encompasses all of that, and hopefully it acts more as a dance partner in misery than a spark that brings the final meltdown.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wailinstorms

‘To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/pre-orders

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/