Snakebite: ‘100 Desperate Hearts Live’

Released in February 2020 (Manic Attack Records)

Live albums always have a special place in my heart. It’s where bands get to really shine while delivering some of their best material. It’s the time when groups try their best to replicate their live performance but on tape. A live album can be a defining moment for a band as for several major acts, it was a live record that helped them breakthrough into the mainstream. Two bands that come to mind are Cheap Trick and KISS. It was Cheap Trick‘s fourth album, the live record Cheap Trick At Budokan released in 1978, that proved to be their breakthrough album and is still to this day, their best selling record. Despite forging a reputation as a great live act, KISS‘ first three studio albums KISS, Hotter Than Hell and Dressed To Kill didn’t even come close to reaching gold status. It wasn’t until the release of Alive! in 1975 with their songs sped up in a live setting that KISS achieved the commercial breakthrough that their near bankrupt record label Casablanca Records desperately needed. The rest as they say is KISStory.

I doubt that Snakebite will achieve the commercial breakthrough that Cheap Trick and KISS each achieved with their respective debut live records, but there is no doubt that Snakebite have delivered a smoking debut live album. I always wonder why younger bands don’t release a live record early on in their career? Perhaps it’s as simple as those younger bands don’t sound that great in a live setting. That certainly is not the case with Snakebite who deliver a scorching 12 song set on 100 Desperate Hearts Live with a harder edge delivery than what can be found on their two full-length studio albums Princess of Pain and Rise of The Snake while maintaining their great melodies and harmonies.

While I had a feeling that Snakebite were going to deliver a harder edge sound musically on 100 Desperate Hearts Live, which I really like, I wasn’t quite sure how frontman Dominic Wagner‘s vocals would sound in a live setting. I am pleased to state that Wagner‘s singing is fantastic on 100 Desperate Hearts Live. I always have had a thing for higher pitched voices so Wagner‘s vocals fall well into my preferred wheelhouse singing wise. There’s a real sense of urgency and excitement that you can feel when listening to 100 Desperate Hearts Live. In the last couple of years, H.E.A.T and Rusted each released a live record with their respective frontmen addressing the crowd in their “home” language. On H.E.A.T‘s Live At Sweden Rock Festival, the band’s frontman Erik Grönwall addressed the audience in the Swedish language while on Live, Wild & Free, Rusted frontman Tony Rust spoke to the crowd in French. On 100 Desperate Hearts Live, Wagner presumably speaks to the audience in German, which is a language where I only understand a few words. Fortunately, Wagner speaks rather quickly and only on a few occasions on the live record so it doesn’t really bother me that I have no clue what he is saying.

Snakebite‘s 100 Desperate Hearts Live is well balanced between the band’s two full-length studio albums with six tracks from Princess of Pain and six from Rise of The Snake. Funny enough, some of my favourite songs off Rise of The Snake such as “Heroes of The Unknown,” “Aiming High” and “Fields of Glory” didn’t make it onto 100 Desperate Hearts Live but that’s alright as that studio album really doesn’t have any weak tracks in any case. My favourites off 100 Desperate Hearts Live are the catchy “All Your Loving” and “One Touch.” The band’s songs seem tailor made to be played live. Just like Rusted nailed it with their live album Live, Wild & Free, which was released back in late December 2016, Snakebite have come up with an awesome live record that is definitely worth checking out. 100 Desperate Hearts Live can be a bit hard to find so I suggest going right to Maniac Attack Records‘ website if you want to purchase it.

Track List:
01. Intro
02. Freedom
03. Cry For Rock
04. All Your Loving
05. One Touch
06. Two Desperate Hearts
07. After Dark
08. Princess of Pain
09. Devil On The Loose
10. Live It Up
11. Run Fast
12. We Rise
13. Road To Nowhere

Band Members:
Dominik Wagner – vocals and guitar
Alex Lacroix – bass
Julian Fischer – drums
Chris VanClough – guitar

Recorded by Robin Stianberg and Dennis Koehne

Band Websites:
Official Website
Maniac Attack Records

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, August 2020

Snakebite‘s “All Your Loving” (live) video:

Snakebite‘s “Princess of Pain” (live) video: