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Album Reviews : Serpentcult – Weight of Light

By on October 14, 2009

serpentlargeFemale fronted doom isn’t something you come across too often, and it’s even rarer that it sounds like Belgium’s Serpentcult. This particular combination of Sabbath-heavy doom and Michelle’s vocals is an interesting one. She definitely doesn’t have the range, power or emotion of the brilliant Julie Christmas, but a much heavier Battle of Mice was the first comparison to come to mind. Not so much musically, but just the overall sound and feel.

Sitting on the fence between stoner metal and doom, ‘Weight of Light’ is full to the brim with heavy grooves and pounding beats. “Awaken the Kraken” is true doom metal with its devastating riffs and pure, unadulterated power, the slightly faster “Screams from the Deep” is more stoner-riff based, while first track “New World Over” speeds along like most Candlemass openers. When Michelle’s vocals are present, she seems to give a bit more life to even the slowest of passages, like a sober Ozzy Osbourne with no testicles. When she takes a back seat, which is surprisingly often, the ballsier feel (sounds dirtier than it’s supposed to) kicks back in. Neither of those is necessarily better, it actually creates a nice balance and keeps things changing.

Bass-lovers will absolutely adore this album because for a change, it’s clearly audible. In fact there are a few passages where the bass guitar is the driving instrument. Likewise, the drums have their moments in the spotlight with some great fills, and again, their own few passages to take control over. No instruments are forgotten and while the music isn’t revolutionary, it’s definitely not bland either. It’s powerful, and groovy for the most part, with bursts and hints of extra creativity sprinkled all over the place. And just as consistent as anything else I’ve heard.

The band would’ve struggled to churn out a better debut album. Musically it’s top notch, and while Michelle’s vocals are perhaps the thing that sets Serpentcult apart from others, they don’t depend too much on her. The music stands on its own metaphorical feet; her unique addition is a bonus. 8.5/10

For fans of: Candlemass, Battle of Mice, Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath.

Band: Serpentcult
Album: Weight of Light
Year: 2008
Genre: Stoner metal/Doom
Origin: Belgium
Label: Rise Above Records/Riot! Entertainment
myspace.com/serpentcult

Track listing:
1. New World Order
2. Screams from the Deep
3. Weight of Light
4. Awaken the Kraken
5. Arkanum
6. Red Dawn
7. Templar
8. Serpentcult <- Reviewers choice

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.