Snag. "Death Doula" - Deathwish Inc

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Snag. "Death Doula"

Milwaukee’s Snag came from crisis and anxiety. Environmental, economic, existential-- their music represents the full-throated terror of living in a world that seems to have no regard for its own future. Incubating throughout 2016 and bursting into screaming life in early 2017, Snag perform a particularly visceral form of screamo that plays heavily with the more atmospheric, post-rock side of the genre, incorporating disparate instruments like violin, cello, and trumpet as well as anxious interludes and build-ups while never sacrificing the immediacy and kinetic catharsis at the heart of their sound.
Built around the base of guitarist Sam Szymborski, bassist Peter Murphy, and drummer Bryan Wysocki-- all of whom contribute vocals in a communal soup of despair and hope-- Snag has shared the stage with many influential and legendary acts since their formation, including Jeromes Dream and Majority Rule, as well as like-minded peers such as Portrayal of Guilt, For Your Health, and Infant Island. Since self-releasing their first EP, Snag has worked with forces both local and international to evolve their sound and consistently release boundary-pushing new material: a split record with fellow Milwaukeeans Social Caterpillar; Canada’s Zegema Beach Records facilitating a split with New Zealand’s Swallows Nest; and most recently, an LP co-released by Zegema Beach, Indiana’s Middleman Records, and Dasein Records out of Copenhagen; and their debut self-titled full-length in November of 2019, which represented a manifesto-like summation of and expansion upon everything they had already sonically accomplished thus far.
Now, after a year spent in quarantine as a result of destructive and ineffective leadership, Snag is preparing to release their sophomore full-length, Death Doula. The record is the culmination of all the lessons Snag has consistently taught themselves over the course of their career; songs are stuffed to the gills with dynamic build-ups and unpredictable structural twists, and yet every song maintains a tightly-constructed sense of purpose. The production positively sings; drums crack, guitars screech and swirl, and the bass work is so beautifully and fluidly melodic, lending each song a sense of clever complexity without sacrificing accessibility, weight, or passion.
Every song on Death Doula feels meticulously and lovingly crafted, from the sudden downtuned thudding and deathly growls of standout “Heirloom” to the angular and violently eerie wall of sound that is “Weathervane.” Every member of Snag is operating at peak capacity and perfectly in tandem with each other; Murphy’s energetic, melodically nimble bass work melds perfectly with the technical precision of Wysocki’s drumming, while Szymborski’s guitar work alternately provides memorable riffs and unsettling atmospherics. The entire soupcon is augmented by all three members’ frantic, collaborative approach to vocals, resulting in a listening experience that is as chaotic as it is cathartic and life-affirming.
Lyrically, too, Death Doula represents an even greater step forward for Snag, as a hopeful yet aggressive sense of poeticism bleeds through in every track (except for the gorgeous instrumental “Next Morning”)-- on “Heirloom,” the band proposes that “A friendly smile can save a life,” while “Prairie Thistle” declares that “to suffer is to exist/Persist in defiance.” There’s no mistaking that at the heart of Snag’s music is a desperation for community, for salvation, and for the hope that working together can provide us all with a brighter future.
Death Doula is the result of everything Snag has spent the last five years warning us about coming true. Snag evokes the tension of being an active and informed individual in today’s self-destructive world in every way. “It’s your choice,” they say. “I tried to tell you.”
– Ellie Kovach

Track Listing:
01. Jar Spell
02. Heirloom
03. Prairie Thistle
04. Next Morning
05. Weathervane
06. Purgatory
07. Paradigm Shift