By Jack Daniel Betz

The pitch-black noise rock of Balacalavas only continues to mature on their sophomore LP “Snake People”. Much like on “Roman Holiday,” the band relies on the core rhythmic drive of dummer Charlie Patranella and a complete disregard for the trappings of contemporary rock music.

The highly stylized music on “Roman Holiday” is continued on without missing a beat. In addition to heroic gothic drumming, the music still echoes with the sounds of grinding guitar feedback, doomy bass lines and synth tones buzzing with the ominous oscillations of a chorus of sizzling tesla coils.

Tracks on “Snake People” vary in length from two minutes and sixteen seconds to over nine minutes. “Snake People,” the latter of these two, completely disregards structure. Rim drumming like on “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” combined with Tyler’s dramatic cries makes for a feverish nightmare-scape that would make Peter Murphy shit his pants. This staple track also includes a number of delightfully Cabaret Voltaire tape samples in the beginning, only adding to mood.

This is not to say that the shorter tracks are not just as good. “Down and Loose,” the album’s second shortest song, is highly organized and structured with cryptic lyrics like, “tight black leather boots, smoking cigarettes, with no regrets”. Even on the less lengthy tracks, Balaclavas sets the mood.

Grade: A