Written by: The Administrator
Back in the olden days of this here blog, we briefly reviewed, in conjunction, a couple of serpent-themed bands. One of ‘em—the appropriately monikered Serpent Worship—impressed me with serpentine riffage, undulating psychedelic backdrop, and a generally pythonian tone.
Snake-like sonic qualities aside, however, my favorite aspect of this one-man outfit was the remarkable ability to compose simple yet engaging tracks without the aid of vocals. Indeed, to lift my own words: “perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Serpent Worship is the sheer intrigue layered into the composition; it genuinely wasn’t until the third listen that I realized there are no vocals.” On his latest 2-track outing, Blood & Venom, our serpent worshiping friend taps once more into this reservoir, but arguably delivers an even more enjoyable treatise on the effectiveness of no-nonsense fuzz.
Let’s get one this straight right off the bat: this isn’t fancy music. Rather, it draws its greatest strength from pure stoner doom simplicity: riffs dripping in distortion, plodding about with the grace of a mammoth in a tar pit. The kind of bass that leaves you feeling genuinely concerned about the potential liquification of organs. Drums that pound and crash with a thunderous Raijin-esque fervor. An appreciation for droning feedback that leaves the listener floating listlessly on a bank of fog.
Side A, "Seer," begins with a languid intro--a slow build that operates handily alongside the best of 'em. But as soon as that groovy bass line hits, it's all over. After picking your rag-dolled frame off the ground, the track continues in a bruiserly fashion. To reiterate: the central motif is simplicity at its finest. No bells and whistles here: just a pummeling stoner doom experience. An occasional light-footed passage appears to break up the bass, but the low end always returns with a dogged determination. And, much like Serpent Worship's prior work, I find myself utterly consumed by the atmosphere, leaving little time to question the lack of vocals or additional instrumentation. The same, of course, remains true for the Side B track, "Drugged." This second effort is wider in breadth, and employs a little more psychedelic meandering in the back half. That said, it never falls off the rails and thus never gets lost in the doldrums of excess. This track's standout moment occurs around the 5:20 mark, where a warbling lick steals the limelight, and after some exploratory rambling, falls back into that central monolithic riff. The track ends on a drone-y note, and, as always with this outfit, I'm left wanting for more.
If you're looking for overly complex arrangements and eclectic musical elements, look elsewhere. Serpent Worship is, to quote, a "one man instrumental psychedelic/doom/sludge/stoner/rock project," and what you see is what you get. In this case, getting what you see couldn't be more gratifying. For connoisseurs of the downtrodden low 'n' slow, Blood & Venom comes recommended from this gloomy scribe.
Serpent Worship - Blood & Venom was released Nov. 27th, and is available on bandcamp here for Name Your Own Price.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!