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Galvano – Trail of the Serpent

Trail of the Serpent
by Omnius D'Worgen at 01 June 2015, 10:07 AM

I implore you, take a listen to some of Swedish sludge duo GALVANO's music – feel its fullness and richness, and then remember that this band is a guitar/vocals/drums duo. Yeah, I know, I felt it too. Get ready to tune low and play slow…

Okay, so let's talk about the record – Trail of the Serpent is the band's second album, and a great example of the vast space a single instrument can take with a bit of innovation. Don't let the short track list deceive you, though – each one of the tracks is roughly ten minutes long, so you have lots to look forward to.
The music has many of the elements you'd expect in a record of the genre – extremely low-tuned and distorted guitar (although less gain then I expected), slow riff grooves and vocals courtesy of the Marlboro Man. An element rather surprised me was the drums – far more violent and intricate than you'd expect, Käll uses his skins expertly to add girth and depth to the songs.

Guitarist Nööjd unleashes many great riffs in this here piece as well – and not only heavy and slow ones, either. Violent palm muted pummels, clean and dark passages, one-note awesome leads… Versatility is a wonderful thing, and it keeps the music constantly interesting and changing. An interesting aspect of the mix is that they chose to put the vocals at roughly the same level as the other instruments (rather than soaring above them), which makes the approach to it as a listener more like that to an instrument than that to vocals. All in all, these three combine to make a massive and heavy sound I think any fan of doom, stoner or sludge will enjoy immensely.

The album feels like one continuous experience… But this great trait is also the record's Achilles' Heel: the record is rather too continuous, to the point that I forgot my media player on "repeat" while working and only noticed it when it re-ran the record for the third time. It's not a game-breaker (far from it!), but I think this point should be strengthened in the future with these guys.

3 Star Rating

1. The Gathering
2. Following the Trail
3. Stench of Prey
4. Driven Snow
Mattias Nööjd – Guitars/Vocals
Fredrik Käll – Drums
Record Label: Candlelight Records


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