Review Summary: Fun instrumental doom metal. Yeah, it exists. And It can only be found here, with Serpent throne.
This is the second effort by the instrumental doom metal act out of Philadelphia PA. with just one listen or even by only looking at the cover, you can see how much this band has matured in just a few years. But don't get excited, nothing on this album is brand new or extremely original. Many riffs are stale and songs tend to drag. the rhythms hardly differ and songs blend more than you would want them to. With no catchy vocals, the listener can easily lose attention of the onslaught of mindless riffage and soloing that is relentlessly and almost monotonously dished out, track after track. The Tony Iommi worship is extremely noticeable throughout the entire album, and at times it can seem as though you are actually listening to "Master of Reality" era Sabbath.
Everything that that I mentioned above is true, although, it does not take away from the fact that this album is quite great. This Lp features some of Serpent Throne's best tracks like, "The Battle of Old Crow", "Red Moon Harvest" and "Rock Formation". Not to mention that the production of this album is fantastic. The solos blaze through the mix like a meteor cutting through the atmosphere of a rotting planet inhabited by Sabbath worshiping demons wearing nothing but Pentagram leather jackets. The bass lays a meaty foundation for the numerous riffs and licks that are scattered throughout the album to stand out and claw at you with great force. The drums are also placed neatly in the mix at an appropriate volume for the riffage. Although, the drums sound rather lackluster at times. Weather it be that the cymbals weren't hit hard enough or there wasn't a fill when it was necessary, they sometimes sound awkward or not up to par with the rest of the album.
A few songs off of this album could be considered filler. "Thirteen Mountains" and "White Buffalo" are some examples. These songs in particular offer nothing new to the album and pale in comparison to the righteousness of standout track "Rock Formation". The good definitely outweighs the bad on this album. no one can deny the excellence of "The Battle of Old Crow" or the grooviness of "Red Moon Harvest". "One Per center" is another track that can really get your attention. It wastes no time at all. It starts right off with a bouncing, almost Tom Morello like riff and into a solo that I'm almost certain I've heard off of a Sabbath album somewhere. The song has so many riffs, solos and time changes, it really displays that they are quite good musicians. Also very predictable and somewhat generic musicians though. You always know when the solo is coming up or when the next Sabbath - esque riff is about to take place. Although, they really do an exceptional job at what they do. Not many bands could take something so old and overused and make it enjoyable once again. For three albums as well. It is impressive, really. Not every song is a straight up Sabbath Rip-off either (Surprising, I know!). One Example is, "Snakecharmer". This track in particular gives off a power metal feel to it. at the beginning it reminds me of The Scorpions or maybe even a Hair Metal band. But they mix in their semi unique groove to it, creating something that is very enjoyable. It builds up into an epic climax that I think is one of the highlights off the album. As well as the climax in "As The Serpent Descends"
Each song off this album is very fun to listen to. That's the key to enjoying Serpent Throne. Look at it from the angle that they are a fun band, not one to be taken 100% seriously. Yet again, how could you? They have an album called "Ride Satan Ride"...Anton Lavey couldn't take that serious. They even stated in an interview that they don't have a singer, because it would get in the way of the riffs. I found that pretty funny, than I realized they were right. "Led by Vultures" would get ruined by vocals. The riffs are exceptional in that song, you would not want anyone to sing over them. Not even Ozzy himself! (maybe that's a little to far). Anyway, this album is very good. If you like Doom, Stoner or just plain old Rock n' Roll, definitely gives this album a listen. It is highly recommended.