Having gestated for nearly 2-years, the long awaited project from two-time Grammy-nominated guitarist Sin Quirin dropped last week. Dubbed 3 Headed Snake, the band features Quirin (guitars and keyboards), vocalist Johnny Ray (The Mourning), Cesar Soto (Ministry, guitars), Derek S. Abrams (Ministry, drums), and DV Karloff (Society1, bass). The debut 3-song EP is a powerhouse of classic metal. While Quirin is best known for his work with industrial legends Ministry (and RevCo, Lords of Acid, and the latest KMFDM), on this project he pulls back on the samples and studio wizardry and pushes guitars, bass, drums, and Ray’s soaring vocals to the forefront.
The self-titled EP kicks off with “Symbiotic,” a fast tempo song that jumps out of your speakers with scorching guitars and galloping drums. The dynamics on this track are subtle. It’s a straight-up rocker, but moments of restraint against loud crescendo’s create a tension that propels the song above your average metal head-banger. Further, Quirin’s lead work is hot. Tight and tasteful, where he could’ve gone into some guitar player histrionics, Quirin knows what the song needs and doesn’t put himself ahead of it.
The lead single, “Wisdom Screams” (check out the video below), is the stand-out track of the EP. Tempos shift from fast to mid and back again, held together by Ray’s vocals and Quirin’s scorching guitars. When the song breaks down into the chorus, Ray’s voice takes off, pushing the song upwards as things shift downward. Again, Quirin puts the perfect touches on this track with leads that lean toward the melodic, not the masturbatory. This track also highlights the quality of the mix (courtesy of Michael Rozon, who also handled these duties on Ministry’s AmeriKKKant). Each instrument is loud and clear, best exemplified by the acoustics of Abram’s drumming that rests comfortably alongside the guitars without either fighting for it’s own space.
“Money God” closes things out with the sounds of impending doom. A mid-tempo song that opens with some soft guitar picking and Ray’s plaintive vocals before launching into a towering chorus, it’s the another example of the fine songwriting Quirin and Ray bring to the table. In simple terms, it’s loud/quiet/loud, but doesn’t play to the clichéd elements of that structure. Rather the ups and downs in volume are carefully plotted out and enhanced with moody and potent instrumental work. The results are compelling enough to make you queue up the song again as its final notes fade.
If there’s a hole inside you where classic metal once called home, 3 Headed Snake will fill that void. This three song introduction to the band is instantly satisfying, though it will leave you desperately wanting more. Here’s hoping we get more from Quirin and his crew sooner rather than later.
– J. Kevin Lynch