Rating:
8.0
Serpent Venom - Of Things Seen & Unseen
27 June 2014


01. The Penance You Pay
02. Sorrow's Bastard
03. Death Throes At Dawn
04. The Lords Of Life
05. I Awake
06. Let Them Starve
07. Pilgrims Of The Sun
08. Burning Free


Recorded by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio in October 2013.


Antiquated doom can only go so far, and surely someday the tradition which still manages to thrive within contemporary metal will run its course? Not just yet it seems, not with the right dosage of Serpent Venom, to which, like all things occult, you'll eventually succumb in time. Once bit, there's no going back. This is fatal fuzz.

It's a rarity amongst traditional doom that enough of an edge is established to warrant describing the suspect album as possessing bite or any finesse in the song writing. Here we have serpentine doom of staggering quality, fangs and all. Of Things Seen And Unseen bites in the way good doom should, and leaves quite the impressionable puncture wounds. This best manifests itself in the thick ended riffs, which strike down from an all imposing position and distort the sound with all the warmth of their fuzzy reverb. A rolling stone gathers no moss, as they say, though the riffs here defy the proverb as they gradually roll on from the crushing rhythm section, taking with them traditional roots and all, which are firmly grounded within a heavy stoner haze and deeply dark doom.

From out of the gloom the vocal performance announces itself with stunning clarity and power, front man Garry Ricketts unleashing a charismatic style which ably holds its own alongside the enormity of guitar lines slowly and surely unfolding. This is very much doom with a boom, as much as lethal bite in the tenacious performance from the band. Bass and guitars strike in unison at the beckoning and assurance of the drum work, pounding out the tunes with deterministic poise, all at a pace that is careful to never fall into lethargy or attention slipping slowness.

Track distinction isn't something particularly noteworthy for Of Things Seen And Unseen, many of the tunes more or less blending into the other, forming a right monolith of well weathered doom. Although the effort is split down the middle, with track five of eight being a sweet little acoustic number, before things proceed again into the doom of "Let Them Starve." The back end of this track is where all the doom laden tempo climaxes into an explosive hastening of pace, a singularly rapid point amongst all the slow movements of the majority of the album. Well established exhilaration, and gratifying comeuppance for the attentive listener.

Other than that, structural variance isn't immediately obvious, which really isn't surprising given the style and the highlighted strength in the performance. Ultimately it's in the performance that the album manages to carry its own weight, and then some. More than just passing idly by without leaving an impression, this example of classic doom has the necessary character, but also the necessary build. The homogenous yet quite commendable song writing is presented in a tightly uniform performance across the board. Inventiveness isn't expected, nor is it needed. This is doom done and delivered with true talent.

As far as a style tried and true goes, this tries truthfully to stick to a precedented sound, and pulls it off remarkably well.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 5
Production: 8


 



Written on 06.07.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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Amatsu Mikaboshi - 06.07.2014 at 21:02  
Nicely written review, having seen them play what I thought was 3 or 4 really well combined tracks flown together before they released this. It was quite a nice pleasure to know they had did at least the 1st half of the album without any cuts when I first had heard this. Nice blokes.

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