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Blood of Serpents - Sulphur Sovereign

Blood of Serpents
Sulphur Sovereign
by Tatianny Ruiz at 08 October 2018, 8:38 PM

It's been four long years before we have seen a new release of the Death/Black metal Swedish BLOOD OF SERPENTS, the project that started back in 2012 with guitarists Fredrik Nilsson and Kristian Roupe took two years until their debut "Black Dawn" to be released and exceptionally praised with such brutal tracks as "Deliverance Divine" and "Illuminator of Flesh".  Some changes in the lineup between 2015 and 2016 bringing Thomas Clifford to the vocals, going forward for another two years but here we are to talk about the new album "Sulfur Sovereign" released on September 25, 2018 by Non Serviam Records.

And if it was delayed, the result made the wait worth it with a gross and brutal production of Lars Broddesson (ex-MARDUK) in the Twisting Serpents Studio and mixed and mastered in the studios of Endarker by Magnus `Devo'Andersson (MARDUK) the second full -length "Sulfur Sovereign" comes along proving that keeping the Black Metal line was the best choice made in 2015. With a burly cover art we began the analysis of this album in "Mater Tenebris" at the sound of powerful drums and guitar lines spinning before Thomas's grunts take position.  From there, the integration of the bass and drums of Benny and Christoffer respectively lead the sonority to a level of absolute chaos and the whole ensemble becomes extremely dense as a massive block where the vocal practically lies in the background.

"In Darkness, Brotherhood" retains the same colossal energy keeping the instrumentation pounding while Thomas's howling seems to blend more Metal elements, some brief milder moments but the track remains wholly powerful. Now add some bursting riffs and you've come to "Devil's Tongue", with dizzying time passes, remembering that both tracks have been released earlier this year. "Evictor of Christ" changes the context of things a bit with a soft introduction and a resumption of the monolithic sound of the band, with some moments presenting the lyric in an almost spoken way.  The guitars sound phenomenal here, for obviously Fredrik and Kristian found a formula to make this work.  Although this album is deeply connected with the roots of the style, it is still possible to perceive gentle different elements being employed.

From now on we have a cadence in the sonority that slows down but keeps boiling in single riffs in the track.  This turns "As the Temple Burns" into a different track, as well as "Canticle" that starts with a melancholy and gloomy march on piano.  At this moment, you may notice a black atmosphere like death hovering, while cries of anger echo in the background. The energy in brute force is resumed in "As Nocturnal Dimensions Beckon" and "Upon Waters Dark" and the production makes this album a combat weapon.  It succeeds in proving that Black Metal can still maintain its roots, but manages to renew itself and sound so fresh and voracious as in the past.  Without having a dirty sound, this sure is a very positive point in this album where even sounding like a Hot Rock still sounds clear to the audition.

You can breathe for a few moments in "Prophet of the False Faith," which even brings elements that remind me of different lines between Death and Thrash on vocals.  It is almost like being spat before final laceration in "A Void Between Worlds".  Another detail worth points is that we do not need to listen to absurdly long tracks, they all have a very adequate tempo and the album is really well matched with everything sounding magnetic and powerful.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Mater Tenebris
2. In Darkness, Brotherhood
3. Devil's Tongue
 4. Evictor of Christ
5. As the Temple Burns
6. Canticle
7. As Nocturnal Dimensions Beckon
8. Upon Waters Dark
9. Prophet of a False Faith
10. A Void Between Worlds
Thomas Clifford - Vocals
Fredrik Nilsson - Guitars
Kristian Roupe - Guitars
Benny Åkeson - Bass
Christoffer Andersson – Drums
Record Label: Non Serviam Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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