Live Review: Sandrider

 Sunset Tavern Seattle, WA 

Contact: @sandriderseattle 

Web: sandrider.bandcamp.com 

Players: Jon Weisnewski, Guitar, Vocals; Jesse Roberts, Bass, Vocals; Nat Damm, Drums 

Material: Stalwarts of Seattle’s heavy music scene, Sandrider writes bombastic, earsplitting songs with abstract melodious slants. The trio smashes together thrash-induced sludge (Melvins, Unsane) with hardcore screams (Earth Crisis) and killer math-edged punk beats (NomeansNo and Botch) to create a distinct metal-based sound of unadulterated musical ferocity. Sandrider—named after the Fremen worm-riders in the novel Dune— pull lyrical inspiration from Frank Herbert’s dystopian desert saga, but also angle into more personalized modern-day mythopoetic tales. 

Musicianship: Sandrider’s fast and loud musical technique is incredible. Lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Weisnewski’s explosive holy-hell voice naturally glides over gilded power chords and blistering guitar riffs with impeccable accuracy. Bassist and vocalist Jesse Roberts' low and boomy bass sonics— reminiscent of Tool (Justin Chancellor) and Soundgarden (Ben Shepherd)—help define Sandrider’s maximalist sound. Drummer Nat Damm cannot be ignored, as his super-charged blast beats, oversized kick drumming and animated fills provide a foundational layer that rides in strides with Sandrider’s marvelous loud rock sensibilities. 

Performance: Sandrider hit the stage and immediately tore into the superfast and strikingly melodic “Alia” with reckless abandon. After drummer Nat asked for less bass in the monitor, the three longtime friends bantered between themselves for a bit before asking the audience if it was better to have “less bass or more guitar” in the mix. Sandrider continued their ruthless rage with songs from their recent 7” release on Alternative Tentacles—the heavenly heavy “Aviary,” followed by the full blast “Baleen.” A scorching set concluded with the resounding “Children”—the first song the trio wrote together—and the excruciatingly fast and strident “Champions.” 

Summary: Sandrider is an outstanding hyper-brutal noise rock-leaning band in the AmRep vein. The band’s off the wall, riff-laden, head-banging performances are ones not to be missed. Look for Sandrider playing shows in the PNW area and if their track record remains consistent, another round of new material soon!