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Moanhand – Present Serpent

Present Serpent
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 25 May 2021, 6:38 AM

MOANHAND is a one man band project from Roman Filatov, who plays all the instruments, vocals and writes the songs. "Present Serpent," is the first full length album; two EPs have also been released. "Present Serpent" is a very interesting album. First of all, it sounds stupendous; the production is crystal clear and helps show off everything happening in the songs.

A clear production can make an album sound thin but that isn't the case here. Why? Because Roman plays like an absolute possessed madman. He hits the drums hard and precise EVERY  time….this is some of the most robust and passionate drumming I've heard this year.  Perhaps some aspects are a bit too loud but better to be that way than to be unheard. The bass is also given a lot of volume and detail: thick, monstrous and deadly. I appreciate how bass heavy/focuses "Present Serpent" is because it just makes it sound even beefier. This album does a lot of different things but I'd day this is overall a sludge/doom album but one with a lot of different dimensions.

Roman's vocals are extraordinarily—this dude screams his ass off through out the album using a blackened scream. However, he also has beautiful clean vocal approach so he also sings his ass off too. The first song is "Serpent Soul (A Tale of Angels' Slaughter)" and it is a good introduction to what the album will be bringing to you. The beginning riffs are just evil and they bounce right off the earthquake inducing bass.  The drums drop hard alongside the bass so atmosphere never loses intensity even when those wonderful clean vocals fill the air. The chorus has a sort of old school rock feel to it and is catchy and fits easily into the heavier aspects of the song.  After the second chorus repeat, a well executed solo comes striking hard before a blackened scream pierces the soundscape.

"The Charmthrower" begins with a fuzzed out bass moment and gets off to a slow, grinding start.  This one is more of a blackened style track, at least vocally. The music slows down and varies in intensity but it still keeps the same density—this track is a concrete wall! From the 6:54 mark until the end, the bass rules over this land making us all remember just how important of an instrument it is to metal, if not the most important.

The cleans on "Nightwings" are beautiful—-this guy has one hell of a range and can do whatever he wants. The pacing of this song is excellent—it hooks you in and won't let go. The halfway point is more sorrowful than anything before it but the drums encompasses this mood swing so well that I still wanted to head bang. The little touches of melodic guitar that accent the vocal lines is also a nice touch.

"Endless Embrace" is a bit more direct than the other tracks in the beginning. The vocals are more urgent and desperate and that applies to all the styles.  I love the dense groove in the halfway point. Afterwards, an ethnic style guitar solo changes the scenery up for a refreshing twist to the formula. "Raw Blessings" is a melancholic pieces that has some excellent guitar usage, especially when bringing leads out from riffs. This a song that isn't very in your face as far as being heavy goes but it's still quite dense…like being hit in the face with a dodge ball—it just smacks hard into you and stays with you for a moment.  The screams arrive with a melodic moment for one final pull on the heart strings before the song's end.

The final track "The Boomerang of Serpents" is a doozy.  The riffs are more sinister and horror drenched than anything else on the album.  The screams are so often and so well done that I'd be shocked if he didn't leave the studio coughing up blood.  The middle portion all the way to the end is like an endless line of waves crashing onto the shore…a constant motion that ends in a battered stop each time.

"Present Serpent" is an impressive doom album that weaves in a lot of good ideas with the song writing to see them through.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Serpent Soul (A Tale of Angels’ Slaughter)
2. The Charmthrower
3. Nightwings
4. Endless Embrace
5. Raw Blessings
6. The Boomerang of Serpents
Roman Filatov – All Instruments and Vocals
Record Label: Burning Shine Records


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