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Thy Serpent > Death > Reviews
Thy Serpent - Death

Not up to par - 49%

hakarl, September 28th, 2012

The last release, so far, by Finns Thy Serpent, "Death" is an EP comprising four new tracks. The music functions based on two opposing aesthetics, one typically melodic autumnal style, and one black and death metal rooted. Of these two, the former is far more prevalent, and the latter subdued by lack of suitably dark and aggressive material. The music essentially varies between sad, wistful fluff and a more brutal (although extremely meekly so) black and death metal style. The music is hardly black metal anymore, even with the "melodic" prefix, as it's mostly mid-paced melodic heavy metal with occasional bursts of aggression (all of which are rendered quite powerless by the overly clean, plastic production and the lack of speed).

As the opening song "Deathbearer" starts, the sound and style are immediately recognisable as Finnish, based on semi-legendary bands like Rapture (especially the album "Futile"). Thy Serpent isn't doom metal by any stretch, but the similar streamlined melodic aesthetic and encompassing, vast wall of sound can be heard, even if there is always the dark twist that shows the music's blacker roots. "Deathbearer" smoothly moves on from the melodic, mellow passages that are rich in harmony and fluffy, reverb-heavy sounds to a vaguely death metal-esque riff. Somewhat distant, processed-sounding growls sing the verse with multiple lead guitar layers acting as the main focal point of th music. Melodic passages are followed by more evil-sounding ones, with crunchy, heavy rhythm guitar sounds, and some synth and guitar leads recalling the more typical evil black metal melodic aesthetic. The streamlined style, smooth and extremely polished sound recall Evoken somewhat, although the music is naturally much faster, the approach less atmospheric and the songwriting far less meandering and exuberant. More importantly, Thy Serpent's music utterly lacks the depth and atmosphere of Evoken, "Death" being mainly extremely tepid and trite.

"Wounds of Death" is a simple, melody-oriented track with obvious leanings towards typical saccharine Finnish doom metal. The melody writing is particularly obviously recognisable as Finnish, featuring the same typical modal characteristics and chord progressions and so many of their melodic countrymate bands. The song is largely irritating, but there's also an excellent guitar lead that wouldn't have sounded at all out of place on one of the later Insomnium albums, or if made considerably slower, perhaps a Shape of Despair album. "Sleep in Oblivion" is thankfully a more intense track, starting with riffs that could actually classify as black metal, and not even with the "melodic" prefix. Sadly the effect isn't quite as great as desired, courtesy of the debilitatingly smooth production, unexciting performance and subdued harsh vocals. The first half of "Sleep in Oblivion" is perhaps the only track on the entire EP whose material even warrants the use of harsh vocals – the rest of the track is, again, forgettable mundane sentimental melodic and harmonic fluff. The majority of it is outright impossible to recall after listening, and almost no part of the entire EP is worth remembering either. "Parasites" is extremely similar to Rapture's "Futile", and while it's pleasant to listen to due to the pretty harmonies, it's nothing but a quick snack for instant gratification. The song, as the entire record, lacks anything worthwhile to counterpoint the saccharine melodies. The music lacks contrast, making it painfully one-dimensional and forgettable. Even when the individual melodies and harmonies are quite beautiful and cleverly written, the fact that the vast majority of each song is filler material – sometimes vaguely based on the occasionally interesting main themes – makes "Death" a chore to sit through, despite its fairly low running time. There are so few changes in drumming styles, tempos and rhythms that even with only great material the album would deserve criticism for being so monochromatic. With mostly throwaway material and but some moments of quality, this shortcoming is doubly serious.

"Death" EP leaves much to be desired in terms of songwriting, performance and production. If only the first half of the second track is quite awful, the rest of the album still fails to be particularly enjoyable in any other way than functioning as mainly harmless background music. The riffs and guitar leads are so slippery and forgettable even in their most intense moments (which are few) that it's quite difficult to actually enjoy the listening experience. Unless plethora of lead guitar layers and saccharine melodic metal are your pet hates, this will probably not be a terrible listening experience, but it's equally unlikely to be very rewarding either.

A black metal gem - 97%

thammaren, November 10th, 2008

Thy Serpent switched their sound from dark, gloomy, deep black metal (Forest Of Witchery) to a more heavy, straightforward style with the release of Christcrusher in 1998. This included openly anti-Christian lyrics, for the first time, though some of the dark feel and deep lyrics were still there. With "Death", Thy Serpent have dropped the "Let's go burn a church!" attitude seen in Christcrusher, and have instead added more melodic guitar riffs and a death metal feel. If the previous three CDs were symphonic black metal, this would be blackened death metal.

Death metal is not as atmospheric or interesting as black metal, but enough of Thy Serpent's intriguing lyrics are retained. This is especially notable in the track "Wounds Of Death", which has an absolutely staggering guitar melody that conveys the emotions of the band quite well. With the track "Parasites" there is some bashing of Christianity, which is most likely why Thy Serpent call themselves "anti-christians". The haunting keyboard melodies of Christcrusher are gone, and the guitar (they are at least three tracks) is a quite a suitable replacement, as well as the heavy bass lines. This is an improvement because before this album, the bass has been completely inaudible.

With four tracks, "Deathbearer", "Wounds Of Death", "Sleep In Oblivion", and "Parasites", Thy Serpent finish their metal careers. Nothing has been heard from the band since, but however, this album along with those that came before are enough to keep a metal fan happy for a decade.

Classy little EP - 85%

chaossphere, July 15th, 2003

If only this were a full-length! Of all the bands to emerge from Finland in the 90's, Thy Serpent is certainly among the most epic, interesting and overall METAL. They're also quite hard to classify, but I guess Dark Metal is a relatively suitable tag. They combine midpaced death metal riffing with deep growled vocals, flowing melodic ambience and a sense of melancholic granduer in the vein of older Sentenced with a doomy overtone and a very slight tinge of gothic morbidness.

"Deathbearer" is the shortest track here, and the weakest, but it's still great. It's relatively straightforward, slightly reminiscent of old school blackened metal in it's crushing weight and dark structure. "Wounds Of Death" is somewhat mellower, interspersing passages of clean guitar and crooned vocals with a classic melodic break for what passes as a chorus. The guitar sound here is razor sharp, and conveys plenty of emotion. Then "Sleep In Oblivion" is the fastest, most violent track on the disc, leaning more towards a semi-blasting death metal sound mixed with gloomy, subtle keyboards. "Parasites" provides even more sickening dark guitar lines, finishing this short 22 minutes of music off in fine fashion.

If you're into raw, brutal black metal or death metal, give this one a miss. However, if you enjoy classy, slightly depressing (yet sometimes uplifting) dark metal with hints of gothic granduer, then by all means indulge in Thy Serpent's feast of metallic excellence.