Serpent Saints – All Things Metal
Metal is just great, isn’t it? Let’s name another million albums after it. Not to slam Serpent Saints’ debut All Things Metal, but its generic title sells it short, since the Danes deliver a great old school romp into the territory of warriors, witches, devils, and demons. The whole thing recalls eighties heavy metal intermingled with thrash and power so much that I spontaneously got out of my pajamas into my leather jacket, spilled a gallon of beer over it, and headbanged like a maniac until I forgot the words for most of the colors. At least I would have, if I wasn’t such a lazy shit.
Opener and Death Angel-soundalike “Revenge From The North” could be a commercial for the second season of HBO’s Game Of Thrones and it’s not hard to imagine a random Stark or associated bannerman bringing down a heavy broadsword on some poor Lannister’s neck muscles, blood spurting in an ever-so-graphic fashion. Danger apparently comes from every direction as “Rising” warns us of beasts in the east with a solid shout-along refrain followed by eerie woman’s chanting and deep menacing growls from Søren Nico Adamsen (Artillery, ex-Crystal Eyes). Thundering across the battlefield is the Iron Maiden-echoing “Warhose”, and in the course of its four minutes it is far livelier and more adventurous than Steven Spielberg’s two hour long equine worship film of the same name.
Things take a turn for the Satanic with “Lucifer’s Hand”, which boasts a standout chorus, and the Vincent Price-worthy “Witchhunt”. After the forgettable and out-of-place all-hail-metal title track we are treated to the Mercyful Fate-cover “Come To The Sabbath”, which appropriately pays tribute to a Danish legend. “Hang ‘Em High” introduces “The Hangedman’s Song”, a versatile tune with more than a little Grave Digger-DNA.
Serpent Saints isn’t out to push the envelope, but to fill it with poser’s teeth, set it on fire, and send it to the head of the local church community. Their guitar work is consistently energetic and tasty in both galloping riffs and sparkling leads. The unchained Adamsen switches with ease between theatrical vocals and wicked screams, and the few spots of female guest singing, courtesy of Monika Pedersen (Sinphonia, ex-Sirenia), add a lot to the moody atmosphere. The production is something of a marvel here. It has that single-microphone-in-someone’s-garage recording quality, yet every instrument in the mix is clear. Retro done right, so to speak, and an attribution fit for the whole record. All Things Metal may sound like a 3 Inches Of Blood best-of compilation, but it’s a decent slice of heavy metal nostalgia with enough verve and vigor of its own.
Arno Callens’ Rating: 3,75 out of 5