Having visited and revisited this album by Sweden’s Blood of Serpents for a period of some four weeks, the reviewer is still somewhat at a lost to construct a cohesive criticism of the recording. Much of the album is of too similar in nature to enable the listener to associate and articulate the range of feelings and moods usually provoked by an album of true quality.
To the artist’s credit, the aim on Sulphur Sovereign was to create a reproduction of the unhindered assault of old Swedish Gods such as Marduk and Dissection. In such a limited parameter is success awarded; in all other respects the album must stand judged as somewhat a failure.
To bring individual tracks to the attention of the reader as proving or disproving this prognosis is difficult; much of the early part of the album is comprised of music that is completely interchangeable. The first track to emerge from this virtual primordium of heaviness is track five, As the Temple Burns, which is the first piece to deviate from the album’s blast-beat driven template.
The doom-styled opening ninety seconds of the song stand out purely because of their pace as opposed to any improvement in stylistic or dynamic. However the change is welcomed. Here also the band establish that they do understand dynamic, allowing the song to develop over nearly seven minutes of sonic metamorphosis, in the process establishing the greater effect of the blast-beat when juxtaposed with slower tempos. The end portion of the composition shows the band inhabiting it’s most Dissection-like identity.
As previously noted, repeated listens to the album do not uncover nuance missed at first listen, or indeed do anything to change the impressions created by first contact with the compositions. Blood of Serpents have surely succeeded by their own aims, but leave the listener seeking more from the contract between them and the artist.
Sulphur Sovereign is out now.