Among the hidden treasures we have found the debut album of a three-piece haling from the frigid and snowy Shoreview, a suburb of St. Paul, blending the impetuousness of Punk Rock with occasional darkness and the heaviness of Hard Rock sometimes tainted with Metal.
Lyricswise, the band talk the end of wintertime, personal experiences, issues and situations such as falling down a hill head first into a wall, as well as a ghost chase, the lack of a way out and Darth Vader (!), whereas the visual side is all made of heavily darkened photos; starting from the front cover we see a large industrial tower, whereas the inner page shows a church in bad condition; the inner part of the back cover contains the cover art of the single "Vader", while the back cover portrays a cloudy sky oppressing an abandoned industrial area, maybe haunted.
This doesn't have to make you think that the music is constantly and overly dark, as there are actually just a few obscure parts here and there, say a 2%. It is probably a choice that involves most of their front cover artworks to begin with the now sold-out
2015 "Winter" EP.
The sounds are just a tad better than the ones of a demo, which is both a good and a bad thing, in that they deliver a live feel, yet at the same time they sometimes lack the impact, the slashing, the mashing effect and the detail richness that a solid recording production would allow. This is especially true for the kick drums that have no sharpness and are buried under the bass which is loudly mixed.
opener "Winter Is upon Me" consists of depressing Hard Rock embellished by penetrating riffing in the central structure and an almost recitative manner of singing together with a second softer layer of guitar, while "The Ghost We Chase" contains higher vocals, a faster rhythm and double bass parts, along with additional backing vocals as piercing as Rob Halford's. It is sung by another vocalist, probably Italo-American drummer Tony Frascone who created it all by himself.
One of the more Metal songs, "Right Now", is based upon a Metal riff and lively bass lines matched with a catchy Hard Rock refrain reminiscent of Kiss, whereas Last Snow have decided to start with a semi-distorted guitar in "I Need the Cure" alternated with a fully distorted one. The song also features a guitar fugue, some more aggressive vocals and other theatrical ones, too.
Recurring to a Punk Rock edge, fast double bass drums and a robust rhythmic section, "Can't Let Go" reminds me of Ramones during its stops 'n' go and gets concluded by a brief keyboard line.
"All These Things You'll Know" is still on a Punk path, Pop Punk with 70s hints to be precise, but on this occasion the most important detail to be noticed is that the vocalist is very likely David Jay, the guitar player, who has a crystal-clear voice with a more acute timber in comparison with the lead singer. An effected spoken word insert appears after a pure Metal riff, and therefore the composition ends up being one that possesses moat of the facades of the Minnesotans and one of the more elaborate tracks; in brief, one of the platter's highlights.
Punk and Hard Rock have a barbecue together in "Left Behind", utilizing Street Punk raw vocals different from all the others present on the album, as well as ogrish ones in the vein of Gwar. There is also room for a noteworthy guitar fugue: long and in-your-face it prepares the listeners to the last repetition of the refrain.
Previously released as a single, "Vader" begins dark and threatening; this song is a tad longer than the others and is composed of obsessive and memorable Heavy Metal driven by loud commanding echoed vocals. The chorus is supported by a second layer of backing vocals. This Heavy Metal anthem finishes with a delicate acoustic guitar in arpeggio soloing. In my opinion it's the most successful piece ever composed by St. Paul's trio both as to the vocals and as for the riffs and extraordinary licks used.
A drowsy yet atmospherical Jazzy riffing start is what you'll find at the inception of "The Dreamer", also appeared originally on a single in 2017; the tune, which also counts on psychedelic guitar strokes, soon veers towards intimist Indie Rock shores first matched by soft backing vocals and later by suffering ones, until an unexpected closure pops out, rendered by fading out and afterwards by a newborn's cry.
Opened by a crushing low-keyed chord and followed by a brash one, "Down the Hill" is the track chosen to tell us 'that's all, folks!' This song slides among Rock, Hard Rock, Metal and Punk in the smoothest way and is probably the second highlight of the record.
This debut appears to be pretty heterogeneous
because its compositions were written in distant times, still the fact that it rarely reminds of another act makes it feel fresh in the long run.
If you're ready to dive into songs owning a unique style and aren't looking for a highly skillful lot of songs, this product could be just what you need.
Overall, it may be said that "Last Snow" is an awe-inspiring pack of low-budget recordings without a single dull moment in its entirety.