In the 17th century, the Hockomock Swamp in Massachusetts was a stronghold of the Wampanoag people, the predominant tribe of natives in the area.
Hockomock is an Algonquin term meaning “place where spirits dwell.” The natives of the region placed a high value on the wetlands, which had been a hunting ground for game for centuries and had gained a revered status among them. Beyond its life-sustaining activities, much of the swamp served as a sacred burial ground.
The Wampanoag worshipped and feared Hobomock, the chief deity of death and disease composed of human souls of the dead, who congregated in areas like the Hockomock. Thus, the terms Hockomock and Hobomock became interchangeable among non-natives when referring to the swamp or the spirit.
However, the Euro-American settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries did not share the indigenous people’s reverence for the swamp, deeming it worthless. Attempts were made to drain and convert it into farmland. This affront to their beliefs and life source became a source of conflict with the Wampanoag people, who used the swamp as a fortress to fend off the English invasion. It played a significant role in King Philip’s War as a strategic base of operations for Metacomet to launch assaults on nearby English settlements.
Today, the Hockomock Swamp, now protected by the EPA, is known as part of the “Bridgewater Triangle,” a site where paranormal activity is said to occur. Enthusiasts of the supernatural report sightings of UFOs, poltergeists, orbs, fireballs, and even cryptids. The Hockomock Swamp has become a place of intrigue and fascination for those who seek out the strange and unexplained.
Fast forward to 2023: haunting post-industrial duo Snowbeasts pay homage to the bloody history of these sacred wetlands with their new single and video “Let’s Be Animals.” The song’s subject is a perfect mirror, as the lyrics convey breaking allegiance with humankind to escape war and other self-destructive behavior not commonly found among “beasts.” Nearly 400 years later, we still face the same lessons. The Wampanoag had it right: live with the land and respect nature, rather than destroy the ecology for profit. Snowbeasts urges us to go back to this system and get back into the good graces of the earth, in a swirling maelstrom of sick beats and eerie vocals.
Snowbeasts, hailing from Providence, unleashes a heavy beat-oriented composition showcasing the band’s signature otherworldly textures and eerie synthetics. “Let’s Be Animals” is a dance floor stomper that features the commanding vocals of Elizabeth Virosa. Her voice dominates the track, driving the listener into a frenzied state that is both primal and exhilarating. Lüke Haughwøut directed the monochromatic clip in the actual Hockomock Swamp; a rallying cry summoning the long-dormant deity Hobomock itself. Additional footage of wolves displayed behind Snowbeasts were photos by Mandi Martini at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
Watch the mesmerizing video below:
Snowbeasts blend cinematic ambience with powerful modular squelches and hypnotic, heavily distorted beats, creating an otherworldly experience that feels like a warning from the future or a strange memory from the past. The duo draws inspiration from a variety of sources, resulting in enigmatic sound portraits that explore unknown regions and forgotten worlds.
Nothing is off-limits, as Snowbeasts take single instruments and rebuild them into orchestras of sonic depth. Found sounds undergo intense transformation until their origins are forever obscured. Vocal textures supplied by Elizabeth Virosa are equally mesmerizing, morphing from choral chants into haunting drones and eerie sound forms.
Their latest album, “The Endless,” out on 28 April via Re:Mission Entertainment, showcases Snowbeasts’ unique sound in a danceable yet ominous form. Since their inception, Snowbeasts have been prolific, with over 20 releases including collaborations with Dead Voices on Air, Solypsis, D.U.M.E., and Theologian. They have also shared the stage with a diverse range of artists, including Alessandro Cortini (NIN), Richard Devine, Bestial Mouths, Mark Hosler (Negativland), Moris Blak, Ariadne, and Void Vision.
Pre-order and find merch here.
Listen to the track below.
Please support Post-Punk.com! You can do so via: