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Serpent Warning - Pagan Fire

Serpent Warning
Pagan Fire
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 09 November 2019, 5:56 AM

SERPENT WARNING is a Finnish Doom Metal band. “Pagan Fire,” is their second full length album—they also have an EP and Demo.  Often times, and despite the fact it is considered the happiest place on Earth, Metal from Finland is soaked in cold melodies, melancholy, and bleak atmospheres.  Although Doom isn’t really the happiness of subgenres, SERPENT WARNING forgo much of that stark Finnish atmosphere for straight up, no frills, riff based traditional Doom Metal.  With that said, this album is rather dark for this type of Doom.  The vocals especially provide much of the band’s haunting atmosphere.  Jimi uses a clean vocal approach that is very vibrant and a perfect mix of sounds from the 70’s and a more Power Metal approach.

The album begins with ambient noises until around the twenty-five second mark when the riffs kick in on the first track “Pagan Fire”—and they never let up.  The PR for this album described the band’s sound as “serpentine.”  I would say that is a decent enough description—the songs do seem to have a feel of weaving in and out like a snake stalking its prey.  A large reason for this is Jimi’s vocals glide effortlessly over Antii and Marko’s riffs.  At the 3:41 mark, the band strays off their path and changes tempo suddenly.  It is in this moment when Jussi’s bass and Kristian’s drums really shine; they are quite the rhythm duo, holding down the low end while complimenting everything about the songs.  The production feels a little flat to me but the clear drums and audible bass do help alleviate this by adding in some much needed “punch.”

Death’s Tower,” is immediately catchy and engaging—once again, the vocals and guitar really come together to push the song forward. The drums accent the riffs at their high point, giving the song a very energetic atmosphere and the feel of a track constantly on the rise towards the crescendo. The longest track on the album, “From The Deep Below,” also happens to be what I find to be the best.  The bass is absolutely crushing, dark, and dense as the darkness below.  When the guitars drop the hammer at the two-minute mark, the song gets even more heavy and impenetrable.  The band really finds their stride on this particular song and the longer run time gives them enough room to really bring out what makes the band so good.  Although there aren’t any bad songs on this album, none of them match the power contained within this song and it would be great to see them expand on this in future releases.

Although the album didn’t blow me away like some Doom has this year, “Pagan Fire,” is still a great Doom album and a must have for fans of the more Traditional side of it especially if you like music where the focus is on guitars and riffs for days.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Pagan Fire
2. Orient Eyes
3. Death’s Tower
4. Whirlwind
5. From The Deep Below
6. Room of Illusion
7. August 1972
Lineup:
Jussi Kotilainen – Bass
Kristian Lindberg – Drums
Antti Koponen – Guitars
Marko Purhonen – Guitars
Jimi Lehtijoki – Vocals
Record Label: Topillo Records
     


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