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CD Review
Harvey Mandel - Snake Pit

Harvey Mandel

Snake Pit
Record Label: Tompkins Square
Artist's Facebook
Review by Sal Serio
December 2016

Musician Harvey “The Snake” Mandel has always been a hard one to categorize, but one can never deny his unparalleled level of excellence on the guitar. Detroit-born, Chicago-raised, and San Francisco-influenced, Mandel consistently seemed to be a couple steps ahead of the trends, being an early innovator of two-handed fretboard tapping, and distinguishing his sound with a mastery of syncopated phrasing, razor-edged sustain, and a genius touch when it comes to command of his effects pedals, as well as such natural phenomena as volume/feedback control.

Mandel, who has been battling illness in recent years, is back with his first studio album in ten years, the aptly titled ‘Snake Pit’, and it is a gross understatement to say it was merely worth the wait. These 10 instrumentals span blues to jazz, hard rock to jammy improv, and show enough chops, licks, and Snake’s unique signature style, to make any lover of the guitar stand up and take notice. ‘Snake Pit’ rivals any of the classic 1970s Mandel releases, and proves unequivocally why “The Snake” is one of rock’s most revered and formidable axe masters. It’s impossible to pick any individual track to study on ‘Snake Pit’, as they are all intense and inspirational in their own way, which truly illustrates what an amazing body of work this is.

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