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Serpent Omega is a Stockholm based sludge act that was formed in 2011. The band's eponymously titled debut album Serpent Omega was released in January of 2013 by the infamous Mordgrimm Records, which is based out of the United Kingdom. The album features seven tracks of gloomy and doomy sludge that sounds drags its feet through the muck, leaving a trail of mud and grime that any fan of the genre should enjoy. Their overall sound is not as swampy as the NOLA scene and not as influenced by stoner and southern rock as the Virginia scene, but they incorporate a little bit of everything sludgy into their own brand downtrodden, heavy music with some crusty undertones and punk attitude.
While the band does have a sludgy sound that permeates the entire album, each track takes on a life of its own. The album's opener, “Skullwand” kicks things off with some delectable stoner riffs, groovy, thick drumming and pulsing bass lines. There's more than a nod to acts like Kyuss, but Serpent Omega keep it dirty and sludgy with Pia Högberg's raspy and snarled shouts that manage to somehow retain a slightly feminine touch. Everything has a downtrodden, sludgy feel to it even when the tempos are kicked up a notch, like on the trudging and crushing “Warmachine”, which shows the band incorporating crusty guitar riffs and ramped up drumming. The absolute highlight here is the album's eight minute long-player, “Smoke Ritual”, which is the only track that reaches outside above the murky haze. Small tendrils of clean, melodic guitars rise above the murky music during a Black Sabbath inspired jam, bringing forth perhaps the only uplifting moments on this album. Despite the crusty punk elements and the stoner inspired riffing, this is still downtrodden, sludgy and wallowing.
Unfortunately for Serpent Omega, there are a lot of bands wading through murky rivers of sludgy doom metal. Serpent Omega is a solid debut album that should please die hard fans of the genre, but there's nothing really outstanding here to help separate them from the pack. If you worship at the altar of High on Fire, Lair of the Minotaur or Sleep this album should appeal to you. Serpent Omega doesn't really have their own identity yet, but I can sense they have a promising future if they stretch their wings a bit. Personally, I'd like to hear the band exploring and expanding the sound of “Smoke Ritual”, as it seems like they utterly nailed the jamming, somewhat psychedelic sludgy sound they were going for. Serpent Omega is a solid debut album that will please fans of the genre but it won't leave a hugely lasting impression.
Written for The Metal Observer: