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Serpent Warning : Serpent Warning

An enjoyable Trad doom offering - it may not always reach full potential, but you have been warned: this snake has poison in its fangs.

Serpent Warning's rich, growling guitar tones are reminiscent of Lord Vicar, as is their knack for swirling, catchy choruses. Add in The Obsessedís streetwise grunt and Seamountís quirky vocal patterns and you have the makings of a promising new doom metal band from Finland.

Opening track 'Evil River' is the most straightforward on the album, but also the most impactful and memorable - itís a cohesive, engaging composition that floods into your world and demands attention from start to finish. The bass strings shudder like a hammer striking an anvil, the guitars glow bright like a sword straight from the furnace, and the song stomps forward like a warrior approaching his foes.

Throughout this self-titled, six-song album (which features three re-recorded tracks from 2012ís 'Beyond The Wisdom' EP, there are signs of quality, pointing to a band well-versed in vintage doom.

The song 'Beyond The Wisdom' features a sweet, original riff, classic rock licks and a great chorus. 'Ceremonies Of The Sun' benefits from some lovely guitar/vocal harmony. 'Luna' harks back to classic Solitude Aeturnus, adding a touch of epicness to the bandís conservatively sludgy, fuzzy traditional Doom sound. This Finnish band is capable of creating some vibrant, pounding riffs, although too often the songs drift rather than build momentum. 'Luna', for example, feels a little unsure of itself, and its epic side struggles in an uneasy partnership with a slightly half-hearted groove. The eponymous track is uninspiring, while the uptempo sections, including the three-minute NWOBHM-inspired power metal track 'Thousand Names', are pretty tame.

Too often, the instruments get lost behind the dominant vocals, which are a little too loud in the mix. For all his power and outstanding melodies, the grandiose voice of Samuel Wormius/Samuli Pesonen (also of The Wandering Midget) sometimes outstays its welcome, unsubtly smothering some of the songs.

The album was recorded last year and has been gathering dust while I Hate Records delayed its unveiling for unknown reasons. After recording it, Wormius chose to commit his time to The Wandering Midget, and has been replaced by Suvi Laaninen. Her female perspective will potentially re-invent these songs; for a start, it is unlikely that her voice will overwhelm the music in the same way that Wormiusís stentorian strains occasionally do.

Serpent Warning have created a really enjoyable traditional doom offering, featuring a number of great riffs and even better choruses. They donít always reach their full potential here, but you have been warned: this snake has poison in its fangs.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Evil River
2. Beyond The Wisdom
3. Luna
4. Serpent Warning
5. Thousand Names
6. Ceremonies Of The Sun

Duration : Approx. 40 minutes

Visit the Serpent Warning bandpage.

Reviewed on 2014-05-24 by Steve Bidmead
Aesthetic Death
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