Big, bouncy, booming Doom is not some fetish superstar but a rollicking good time at the hands of SERPENTCULT. Some bands are heavy, some are HEAVY, some are fucking HEAVY and this bunch are FUCKING HEAVY. The strings on this lot's guitars must be dragging on the ground.
Some down-tuned delights are in order for this bulldozer introduction to these lowland lurkers, what's more they are purveyors of the sort of sludgy Doom that shows it's arse to the stark fayre dribbled out by some of the miserable bastards that feature in the darker niches of the genre. Groove daisy cuts its way through much of what you will hear, especially on the opening and closing tracks, “The Harvest” pulses like a whale that's swallowed a cluster-bomb. This track also features a skewed riff that drips molten lead and a dynamic that will have the chiropractors busy for weeks. When SERPENTCULT gig, they must have to send in structural surveyors afterwards.
It's not all gargantuan grins, “Red Dawn” and “Screams From The Deep” are both darker affairs, utilising some depth-charge Doom sections and moments where the bass decides it's going to be the main shit-kicker whether anyone else likes it or not. The seismic shake resulting will have the geologists scratching their heads, Belgium isn't known for being at the top of the earthquake league, maybe they want to reverberate Holland into the North Sea. Whatever, the bottom end bombardment is steady and unrelenting with only the soulful warble of the vocals hinting at anything that won't crush your toes. The use of a female singer pays dividends, well suited to crooning in old school fashion, she anchors a significant proportion of the sound in the distant past.
If you want further proof of SERPENTCULT's intent then look no further than the URIAH HEEP cover. When these old muckers were going I wouldn't have been seen dead listening to them and nothings changed, however “Rainbow Demon” has been injected with the same green goo that makes David Banner lose his shirt, it's gained 300lb and all of it is muscle. Despite the increase in girth, there is space aplenty and the contrast between the moment builders and the choral cannonade is gratifying to say the least. The vocals here paint the picture perfectly for you, I feel young again, if this lassie had actually fronted a band way back then, I rather suspect that she would have engendered some energetic solo bedroom activity based on her voice alone but then your proto-headbangers were all a funny bunch.
If you want a change from staring into the ashes left by various aspects of Doom these days then opt in to the traditional ethos spouted by SERPENTCULT, they have tied battleship chains to the body of it but that has only made it all the more engrossing. This is Doom without the gloom.
(Online July 23, 2007)