A lot of people have been asking me who the ‘mystery’ artist was that pounded their way onto our Night Beast mix with the anthem “She’s a Witch”. I purposely held off on saying anything until I could devote an entire post to this band. Ladies and gents of the TNUC clergy, allow me to introduce Snakebyte, the most vicious bunch of assholes to hit Southern California’s airwaves in 1986!
Snakebyte were a 4 piece from San Diego who in 1986 self-released their one & only album, ‘Venomous’. All it took for me was one glance at the artwork to realize this ruthlessness needed to be listened to IMMEDIATELY. The front cover depicts three of my favorite things on earth – waves, boobs and snakes – so while I anticipated the record to be good, I didn’t think it would be this good. Trusting that everyone has already heard “She’s a Witch”, let’s continue…
The band’s sound is classic “chug-chug” metal. That’s not a professional musical term by any means, but it’s one I like to use when describing a certain guitar-squealing, synchronized-headbanging, Dorito-chomping sound that only a select few bands so genuinely possess. Snakebyte combine simple riffs with banshee-style vocals, delivering songs revolving around the (4) basic food groups (or themes) of heavy metal; women, horror, partying and…women. Some people might also call it “bonehead-metal”, which given the title should suggest a low intelligence form of music, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
CHRIST, listen to that power-howl at 1:08. As a kid that’s the sound I fantasized I’d hear as some psychotic band broke down the classroom door with their guitars to save us all from boring chemistry class. They’d tie the teacher up, stomp around on top of the desks and jam like heavy-metal-neanderthals for the rest of the afternoon (while little fingerless-leather-gloved fists pumped in the air!). It takes a rare bunch of musical meatheads to capture that type of energy.
Snakebyte come with a few surprise attacks as well. Just listen to “Mama Please”, a song that begins with some acoustic strumming that makes us assume it’s the album’s ballad, right? THINK AGAIN.
Those pleasant acoustics give way to a few “chug-chugs” and “pig-squeals” from the guitarist that sound like they were recorded in the bowels of hell.
The band pretty much vanished off the face of the earth post-1987, but I like to think that if they stayed around their sound wouldn’t have evolved too much. Bands always want to improve which is understandable, but in this case it’s cool to imagine Snakebyte specifically catering to that rebellious, bratty 13-year-old we once were, or at least dreamed of being at the time. As unheard of it as it is, ‘Venomous’ is a record that I believe deserves a rightful spot next to any Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Grim Reaper or Sammi Curr album.
If you manage to track down a copy, the original vinyl release will cost upwards of $100. But fear not, because in 2013 the band remastered the album which is now available on CD and Digital at this location.
Uncle T would now like to close this post with an exclusive sneak peek at what happens when Grandmother TNUC dares to enter her grandson’s bedroom.