Shaman’s Harvest / Rebelator a mark of triumph over adversity

Shaman's Harvest, who release Rebelator
Nathan Hunt: "This was the hardest record we've ever made, on every level." Photo: Adrienne Beacco

Shaman’s Harvest will release Rebelator, the Missouri rocker’s first album in five years, on 11 March 2022, via Mascot Records. “This was the hardest record we’ve ever made, on every level,” Nathan Hunt told MetalTalk.

The band’s last two albums garnered an impressive combined 190 million streams, though a tour year tour for 2017s Red Hands Black Deeds album left the band drained, both creatively and personally. However, a reset and six-month demo building in Jefferson City was not without its major problems.

Shaman’s Harvest. Cover of Rebelator.
Shaman’s Harvest. Rebelator.

“A tornado ripped through our town,” Josh Hamler said, “two miles from our studio, levelling everything in its path. Luckily, no one was killed”.

“There was so much stop and go,” Nathan Hunt told us. “There was a flood. Then somebody would have to go home, or we’d have a fucking tornado.”

“Or we’d run out of money,” Hamler laughed. “It was like Murphy’s law at one point—like, Jesus, what else is going to go wrong in the making of this record?”

While the pandemic problems we hitting the music industry with devastating consequences, things were even tougher in the Shaman’s Harvest camp, as Nathan Hunt had to decide if he should amputate his leg.

A construction accident over ten years ago saw Hunt fall 20ft crushing his ankle in the process. Years of surgery followed. “I’d get healed up only to realise the problem was worse off,” Hunt says. A hospital bed was brought into the family home, and Hunt spent his recovery time writing.

As he began to walk again, he was diagnosed with throat cancer brought on by a rare autoimmune disease. “It didn’t take long to realise I would never again support the family with construction,” Hunt says, “so I just went headlong into making music. Some dark stuff came from that period. I feel as a man you can’t really express that loneliness, so I’d put it in melody.” These thoughts and feelings were woven into 2014s Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns album. “It’s something I felt I could tap into for the writing of Rebelator,” Hunt says.

Recovery from cancer and, busy on the road for a few years touring with some big names, caused problems with the leg. “The fellas in the band cover the stage movement,” Hunt said, “the jumping and all the high energy, while I’m able to really internalise and project from a place of emotion.”

Shaman’s Harvest
Shaman’s Harvest. Photo: Adrienne Beacco

Fast forward, and with Rebelator complete, Hunt searched for a doctor who would amputate his deteriorating leg so he at least would be able to walk with a prosthetic. “I wasn’t apprehensive about the decision or anything,” he says. “I was hopeful. A world without the same pain all the time seemed unreal but possible.”

A doctor was found who was able to replace the joint and rebuild his Achilles. “I’m still recovering,” Hunt says, “and probably will over the next year or so, but I’m already better off than I was before the procedure. It’s giving me a newfound focus on the things that are important to me. Like slaying crowds and being present and active for my new daughter. I feel like I’ve been given the tools to have a higher quality in life.”

On 11 March, Shaman’s Harvest will release Rebelator, and this will mark a well-deserved success for the band, who have had to endure more than most during these difficult times. That the album is described as their richest, most well-rounded album to date is true reward for their perseverance.

Rebelator can be pre-ordered from smarturl.it/ShamansHarvest

Rebelator

1. Under Your Skin

2. Toe The Line

3. Flatline

4. Voices

5. Wildfire

6. Lilith

7. Mama

8. Hurricane

9. Pretty People

10. Wishing Well

11. Bird Dog

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