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An Interesting Blend Of Groove And Doom - 82%

dystopia4, March 9th, 2013

Serpentcult formed from the ashes of doom band Thee Plague Of Gentlemen after scum of the earth vocalist/guitar player Steve MacMillan (real name Steven Wackenier) was arrested for sexually abusing children, which immediately split the band up. The remaining members soon got together to form a new band with female vocalist Michelle Nocon. They take an an unusual approach here, mixing doom with groove metal. After hearing the band mixed these two styles I was initially hesitant, but after giving it a listen my fears were quickly put to rest. While some songs are better than others, this is a successful first recording.

The chunky sluggish riffing here is complimented with a sludgy guitar tone, adding power and thickness to the riffs. The groove influence is certainly an interesting inclusion, instantly making this distinct from other doom records. It definitely gives the riffs a unique flavour. The production is what really makes the release. This EP is really heavy, deep and unpolished. The tone is good on everything, especially the bass. This is more apparent than ever in "Screams From The Deep", where there are a few sections where the only instrumentation is the bass and drums. Being distinct, powerful and very deep, the tone on the bass is impeccable and thoroughly badass.

The only real drawback to this release is that the bookend tracks are far superior to the middle two tracks. At times it feels that the production is the main thing carrying the middle tracks. On the first track, "The Harvest", the vocal lines steal the show. Michelle wails away, coming off like like a female Sabbath-era Ozzy, with a higher technical prowess. For the closing track, Serpentcult cover Uriah Heap's "Rainbow Demon". This cover turns out great. While the band adapt it to their own style, they do not go full out. Instead, they opt to meet in the middle of the their style and the style of the original song. This compromise turns out to be the best thing they could do - neither heaviness nor catchiness is compromised.

These musicians seem to recovered from the horrible demise of their previous band quite well. With the addition of female vocals, this makes for a very good first offering. Despite two tracks somewhat lagging behind the other two, there are no bad moments. This unique blend of groove and doom turned out to be not at all a bad idea.