I picked up this album on cd, new & sealed, from a local charity shop for £2.99 a few days ago and when I got home I busily photographed it to sell on eBay. Then I thought I would check out some reviews, just on the off chance that this legendary Swedish band had returned to their roots…
As a fan of Nihilist since i got hold of the Premature Autopsy & Only Shreds Remain demos back in the late 80s, I eagerly anticipated, and was blown away by, Entombed’s first album, Left Hand Path. Clandestine followed and is arguably even more ferocious. Few albums have matched those over the years. I also like Wolverine Blues but I could already see the direction the band were going in.
Indeed, Wolverine Blues was the last Entombed album ever I invested in (when it came out) before Serpent Saints and I have never purchased anything of theirs since – it just doesn’t appeal.
And so, while I didn’t hesitate to purchase Serpent Saints for a mere £2.99, I did so not knowing what the fuck it would sound like. And I will tell you now, I fucking like it.
While this album doesn’t sound anything like their debut, it does have elements of Clandestine & Wolverine Blues and those elements comprise a harsh rawness and aggression, powered on by fucking brilliant vocals from LG Petrov. He has to be up there with the most powerful extreme metal vocalists ever.
The first track is the title track and is a powerful mid to fast tempo death metal track. The excellent chorus part really harks back to Clandestine days.
Following this is Masters Of Death, a relentless five minute thrash track that pays homage to death metal. Ok, the lyrics are a bit cheesy, but the intensity of it is just great. By this point I was getting rather excited…
Then, though, track 3 is a bit of a let down. Amok is probably what is regarded as ‘death’n’roll’ and reminds me of Swansong-era Carcass at the 1:10 to 1:30 mark. Its catchy in a commercial way I guess but that’s about it.
Next track Thy Kingdom Come could be from Wolverine Blues and is played at an uncomfortable up-tempo mid-pace, however, its not a bad track and is a welcome return to some aggression after Amok.
When In Sodom is an excellent track, catchy and fast, and yes, the lyrics are fucking stupid, but who cares about fucking lyrics really? The drum sound changes on this track and I guess, as it was released as a single, it was recorded at a different session. Its a lighter, cleaner, snare sound and suits the track well.
The next 5 tracks, apart from In The Blood (which is a boring plodder) are all good, hard, raw aggression. However, the snare sound does tend to disappear as the album goes on – it gets weaker and lower in the mix, ending up sounding more like the drums on Nihilist’s Drowned demo – kind of ineffective and lacking punch. The last track, Love Song For Lucifer, is a throwaway outro.
I have now listened to this album five times since I picked it up three days ago and its growing and growing. As someone who hasn’t listened to anything other than Entombed’s first three albums and who won’t buy anything else after those (and still won’t), I went into this with an open mind.
You should do the same.