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SERPENT VENOM (Carnal Altar) CD

And here I am again, sitting in front of the computer and writing another review about another band from England that released another CD full of good Doom Metal. Somehow after the recent reviews of The Wounded Kings and The Human Condition I thought this might just write itself somehow. But it did not. And though Serpent Venom is the topic of this review let me just quickly tell you a few things about what bonds them with the aforementioned bands. The opening as well as title track 'Carnal Altar' starts with some of this 70s horror-movie organ sounds (well fitting with the cool packaging of this CD), that immediatly reminded the reviewer of The Wounded Kings. Most probably just because I had listened to them a lot lately as well. And Serpent Venom start out slow as well. Another parallel here.

When they do not really change the riff but just play it double time, move into mid tempo so to speak, there is the Saint Vitus influence that I was promised by some people. This is a cool track to start the album. And it is not the last one. No, ladies and gentlemen. Track two already shows the strength of the band. The tempo is never really any high but even in slow motion these guys got a groove upon them that gets me and hopefully you going. But even in all this groove there is still enough darkness. Darkness that gets intensified by the beginning of 'Four Walls Of Solitude'. First there is a lonely guitar, playing a riff as doomy as it can get in traditional ways. And then the drums set in like a rolling thunder, getting louder and louder. Saint Vitus and Electric Wizard dance a wicked foxtrot while the old folks sit in the corner, lamenting over everything. Speaking of lamenting, singer Gaz, formerly of Sloth fame, is the man, whose lamenting voice adds a slight epicness to the sound of the band, that is a little in contrast to the riffs and song structre but it might be, what sets Serpent Venom a little apart.

Just listen to 'Conjuration' and I guess you know what I mean. 'Under the Compass' is downtuned Saint Vitus from the 'Die Healing' era and it makes me smile. 'Devilshire' mixes the aforementioned styles with a some Black Sabbath riffs. I really like the last two minutes of that song. The only problem with this album that there is a slight lack of diversity. Everything is just slow or lower mid tempo, there seems to be little change within or between the songs, though there are a few style changes but the most surprising moment is when the last track 'The Outsider' switches into that cool uptempo part. Serpent Venom delivers an album well worth to be added to your Doom collection. More than some other bands with similar occult 70s Horror image, if you know what I mean.

(Thorsten Frahling)

www.myspace.com/serpentvenom 

www.doom-dealer.de 

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