Reviewed: November 2018
Released: 2018, Alcyone Records
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Reviewer: Lisa Nash
A very recent creation, Serpent Lord formed in January 2016 and this is their debut album, which might explain why they seem to still be trying to find their sound and style, and this seems very mismatched and unpolished. From Thessaloniki in Greece, they released their first demo offering at a show with Omen in May 17, which sold just 150 copies. Signed to Alcyone Music, they have been working with Infected Studios, who have produced this album.
Consisting of Marios Arikas (Vocals), Giorgos Terzitanos (Lead Guitar/Backing), Konstantinos Sotirelis (Bass/Backing), Axel Forsaken (Rhythm Guitars) and Vaggelis Karafotis (Drums), the band describe themselves as an occult heavy metal band. The art work for the album is taken from a work by John Martin, entitled ‘Sodom & Gomarrah’, painted in 1852 and edited digitally by Giannis Antoniou. It sets the scene for a set of songs that delve into the sinful side of life. Due to there being several bands with the name Serpent Lord, they have chosen to add GR to prevent confusion.
Opening in the style of Helloween, ‘The Lesser Key’ is very much an 80’s concept power metal offering, the vocals so high pitched they hurt the ears at times, the imagery is classic and it has some nice changes in tempo, but at the end of the day it’s not as polished or as enthralling as Helloween and therefore becomes a poor copy by default. Trying a different style next with ‘Ambassador of the New Age’, it still has echoes of 80’s concept metal but adds a thrashier element; the guitar riffs fail to excite, the deeper vocals add interest but overall it is forgettable.
Ushering a sense of foreboding, ‘Nephilim’ is a Hebrew word that describes the offering in the bible, of the sons of evil angels & daughters of men, these wicked hybrid demi-gods, violent giants were wiped out by Noah’s flood so the story goes. ‘Sacrilegium’ has some impressive harmonies, almost choral in style. It has energy and pace, which lift it up and make it very listenable.
For the next track, we delve into the band’s own language, and things become more fascinating. The vocals work so much better in this track, maybe because the words are more familiar to the vocalist and it has a very Greek feel to it. However, I can find no translation for the title, ‘Evvuio Oitovo Iman’, so I have no idea what it is about. The Old Testament features strongly in this album, ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’, being the named art work chosen for the cover too, is an instrumental track, with an attractive melody picked out on guitar, and shows a different side to the band. ‘Serpent, the Lord’, the song that they take their name from, stays firmly in the bible, focused on the fallen angel Lucifer, and telling the story of his fall from Eden.
A song of sacrifice and worship, ‘Blood Offering’ is not a song that stands out, even the machine gun drumming is unable to give it any fire. A very short song, ‘God of Shadows’ is a softer break, slower and more dramatic in style.
Last of all, ‘Seed of Divine’, is very high pitched and shrill at times. This makes it hard to listen to, staying within the biblical themes, and is the most demonic offering of them all and could be a direction for the band to explore in future.
This is a very religious album, and while the focus is on the evil characters in the bible I would hardly call it occult. It is not fearsome enough for that. Overall I fear they made this too soon, they should have honed their sound live a bit longer, let their imagination go further and discovered who they are as a band before committing to recording. Admittedly it get better after several listens, so it’s worth giving it a chance but I do think their second album will be the one to watch for, although I hope they take bigger risks and avoid the cliche of something as obvious as the subject they chose. This is a starting point, now they need to go bigger and more daring, to excite and entice the listener.
The Lesser Key (Official video):
Our video clip is now on facebook! Prepare your souls. Are you ready to be damned?Directed by: Bob Katsionis
Posted by Serpent Lord – GR on Friday, July 27, 2018