Picking up from progenitors Impish, Powerslide ascends to the heights of punk rock while breaking new ground in this timeless single “Serpents in Your Heart”.
Serpents in Your Heart is written by Willy Ojiro and Phillip Amwata. It is released through the independent label Bin Khalid Sonic Pollution. The label fronted bands like Impish, who are credited for being the first true skate punk band in the Kenyan rock scene. Broken, their sole record to date is a frenetic yet purpose filled opus and together with its raw energy sums up a great portion of Powerslide’s third single. The opening sequence has a steady and fantastic staccato that quickly leads into a raving yet brazen rock riff that instantly gets you in on the song. The drumming here is steady and mindful from Timothy “Creed” Wafula, which does well to ground the song while also setting up well the high octane and build up scenes. The transitions at times are patchy but those are quickly redeemed the well executed high tempo moments.
While on previous songs Powerslide have effectively established themselves as a band tinged with political sentiment, that isn’t so obvious lyrically on Serpent’s in Your Heart, which instead stands as a social critique. However it’s anthemic resolve still serves to draw parallel’s with Impish, whose drummer Harvey Herr is credited here with production and mastering.
The band here features vocalist Bizzaro who’s gnarly screams give the song an uncharacteristic edge without being overkill. He combines well with Willy Ojiro’s stern but inspired vocal technique. It is hard not to notice the metalcore influences a fact which Willy Ojiro points to, mentioning that he drew a lot of inspiritation from metal records when composing. In that regard I am tempted to draw some similarity with another Bin Khalid band Class Suicide. Also from Nairobi, Class Suicide were the precursor’s of Kenya’s “heavy bands”. From their 2005 record Storm the Gates , they combine heavy metal and punk rock. Songs like “Earth is Mine” are instructive of the urgency that Serpent’s in Your Heart embodies so effortlessly.
At a run-time of 3.08 minutes, Serpents In Your Heart we predict will stick there as a reference point of the groundwork of punk rock in Kenya and underground music as a whole. It is instantly endearing and will leave you on the edge of your seat with its pummeling and raw energy.
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Powerslide will be live at Choices Pub and Restaurant in the third installment of This is Africa Fest alongside punk rock compatriots Crystal Axis and funk/alternative rock band Murfy’s fLaw. Also performing for the very first time in Kenya will be American alternative hardcore band Stray from the Path. This is Africa Fest is scheduled for the 2nd of June.