Hot Snakes Credit: Courtesy the Artist

The San Diego garage-punk band helmed by posthardcore legends John Reis and Rick Froberg hadn’t recorded a studio album since 2004’s Audit in Progress, but Hot Snakes’ upcoming fourth full-length, Jericho Sirens (due out March 16 on Sub Pop), picks up right where they left off. It’s a searing 30-minute blast of pure rock fury that’s not merely content with slithering around the ankles—it bares its fangs and lunges at the throat for the kill. All of this is clear within the first five seconds of the opening track, “I Need a Doctor,” in which vocalist Froberg screams the title phrase over the ever-aggressive sounds of Reis’s relentless guitar riffs. Reportedly inspired by an experience Froberg had in Spain, when he walked into a doctor’s office off the street with no insurance and received quality medical care for the equivalent of $70, it’s an anthem that takes aim at how the medical industry operates in America. In Hot Snakes’ hands, it just may be the most blistering track ever recorded about health-care policy. That’s not to say there’s anything overtly political about Jericho Sirens; Froberg’s plaintive wails are focused on the universal frustration and panic of daily life. ”You’re screwed!” he proclaims over and over on the song “Having Another?,” while the pounding sound of Reis’s explosive downstrokes acts like an exclamation mark to drive home the sentiment. But the album isn’t all doom and gloom; its second track, “Candid Cameras,” is a plea for catharsis, encouraging the listener to bask in its apocalyptic sounds and “forget your troubles, forget your shit.” In 2018—a year in which the Doomsday Clock ticks ever closer to the end of days—it’s a welcome invitation.   v