Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Serpent Warning - Serpent Warning

There seems to be a huge classic doom movement in Finland in the vein of Saint Vitus and Count Raven. Serpent Warning is one of those bands but the band has enough of their own identity to make them quite unique. Vocalist Samuli Pesonen has a great baritone sound to his voice giving this band it's unique sound. Sadly he jumped ship right before this, their self titled full length debut, was released. His replacement is a female vocalist which is quite the other end of the spectrum. We'll see what the future brings for this band but for now the focus is on this debut. What we have is some really well done classic doom that is loaded with killer riffing and enough atmosphere to make this thoroughly believable.

As I mentioned before, the vocalist on this album has this really cool eerie sounding baritone voice that just fits the music perfectly. The atmosphere of the album just screams doom and gloom. The riffing is eerie and dark and with those deep chanting vocals I could see this being the music played at my requiem mass. One look at the album art should tell you where they are going with this. "Evil River" starts things off on the right foot with it's fuzzy and slow riffs. The production helps create the atmosphere here. The title of the song is perfect for the feel of the song. These guys know how to make you feel the vibe they are putting out. "Beyond the Wisdom" keeps it going with it's fuzzy riffing and eerie sounding atmosphere. Each song on here seems to have it's own personality but without making the album incoherent or lacking a direction. Instead the music creates an experience that actually sets a mood. A couple of bong hits and some headphones would probably make the experience more intense.

Usually with these (and I hate to using this word) retro doom bands they try to be slower and plodding and make the longest and most epic songs on the planet...meaning they bite off more than they can chew. Not this band. Each song is the perfect length and, thank the GODS, not just some plodding slow doom but actual riffing and melodies. The perfect example of this is "Luna" which is just over six and a half minutes long but is loaded with riffs that there is no time that where you would start to doze off or become uninterested. Instead it is catchy and has a chorus that is melodic and catchy. This could easily by my favorite on the album. I keep saying atmosphere because it's the only way to describe the feeling here. "Thousand Names" actually speeds things up a bit adding another dimension to this album. It has a Saint Vitus vibe to it in places but at the end of the day this album has it's own identity. This being the shortest song on the album at just over three and a half minutes it leads right into the final and longest song on the album, "Ceremonies of the Sun." This song is epic as fuck and loaded with riffs and melodies.

My only true complaint about this album is it's lack of solos. As with most classic or epic doom bands they include some shredding solos. This album has solos but not that many and they don't have the technical aspects that I look for. Yes, I think wankery in metal is essential sometimes. However, it does not take that much away from this album because the songs are good, the riffs are plentiful, and the melodies are infectious. Doom is usually not my go to genre and I am picky about it but this is an album that satisfies everything I look for in doom metal. I think that this album could transcend genres and appeal to any fan of old school classic metal.

A special thanks to I Hate Records for the promotional copy.


No comments: