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Serpent Venom : Carnal Altar

Would Serpent Venom put Electric Wizard to shame?

First, you get that short and creepy intro with some sinister keyboards that seem to come straight from an old Jess Franco movie, then the first riff hits on your head. And it hits hard. Welcome to the realm of Serpent Venom, a rather young English band that based their project on the bold idea that Electric Wizard weren't doing their job right. So they're here, eager to show the world how occult Stoner Doom has to be.

The recipe is quite simple : mix some suffocating opium-filled riffs, slow down the pace, hire the high priest of some forgotten god's cult to preach and don't forget to put some useful Lovecraft influences. And the least I can say is that Serpent Venom do all that better than many. Just listening to the first song will make the heat rise up in your place, and sweat shall soon impregnate your shirt. In addition, the production is as massive as the Sphinx of Gizeh (the bass lines are stunning). As icing on the cake, Serpent Venom has one hell of an ace up their sleeves : their singer is Gaz Ricketts, better known as the throat in the mighty UK-Sloth. And this is what makes Serpent Venom step from a good band to an impressive one.

Because Gaz is one of the best active Doom singer, together with Phil Swanson. And on ‘Carnal Altar’, his voice shine as much as on ‘The Voice Of God’. Even more incantatory, in my opinion. The music on ’Carnal Altar’ was already putting many bands to shame : with Gaz's voice supporting it, the album becomes one of the best release of the genre in 2011. Maybe the best. The wizards from Dorset should take note, for Serpent Venom has released here a massive record that put ’Black Masses’ back in the shadows. The sonic sabbath induced by the end of ‘Devilshire’ is in itself the kind of musical ritual you could use to rend the veil and put the stars right.

They say that summer's dying fast : maybe it's because it has been infected by Serpent Venom. Worshipping the Great Old Ones in a silly 60's manner has never been so good.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Carnal Altar
2. Blood Of Serpents
3. Four Walls Of Solitude
4. Conjuration
5. Under The Compass
6. Devilshire
7. The Outsider

Duration : Approx. 58 minutes

Visit the Serpent Venom bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-08-02 by Laurent Lignon
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