Saturday 24 September 2016

Holy Serpent - Temples (Album Review)

Release date: 30th September 2016. Label: RidingEasy Records . Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Temples – Tracklisting

1.Purification By Fire
2.Bury Me Standing
3.Toward The Sands
4.The Black Stone
5.Sativan Harvest

Band Members:

Scott Penberthy - Guitar/Vocals
Nick Donoughue - Guitar
Dave Bartlett - Bass
Lance Leembrugen - Drums


Here we go, with another fabulous review! Let me open with the same words I used after the first seconds of listening. Holy shit! Holy Serpent! Holy Serpent’s latest album is something absolutely amazing and insane. In this latest release, Temples (RidingEasy Records), the Melbourne based quartet completely expand their sonic journey through a much more heavier and massive sound compared with their self-titled debut album (Holy Serpent).

Here, the tunes are atmospheric and heavy, and the slow grooving passages perfectly mix with the vocals of Scott Penberthy that, in some passages closely remind one of the finest voices of the grunge scene of the 90's, Layne Staley. What I found really interesting in this album, is the perfectly mix of doom, stoner and grunge, where (slowed) Black Sabbath fuses with Alice in Chains, Fu Manchu and Acid King. All without disdaining more psychedelic passages, as in the best tradition of the 60/70’s.

The album opens with Purification By Fire, where slow-burn riffs, rhythmic and massive patterns of bass and drum slowly accompany the listener into dark and heavy atmosphere, where the vocals really remind to the best Layne Staley. This long opener ends with a riffage close to Acid King. One of my favourite tracks. It follows Bury Me Standing, a song which starts with a powerful wha-guitar-solo and then suddenly change tempo, perfectly declining the doom concept of Saint Vitus around the howls of Penberthy.

In Toward the Sands, Holy Serpent expand their sonic experimentation, as the song constantly turns on a dime from fast rager to doom, and where we can hear in some passages the echo of Monolord’s Cursing The One (from their amazing album Vaenir, RidingEasy Record). The same groove can be found in the next The Black Stone, possibly the song with one of the heaviest, slow and obsessive rhythmic of the whole album. And, mind you, is not a note of disappointment, indeed. Simply amazing.

Temples closes with a 12 minutes long journey through Holy Serpent, Sativan Harvest, a three-pieces song which is built around an epic stoner/doom riffage that drifts into haze of droning guitars. Here the tunes are, if possible, even more fat, slow and dark. Around the sixth minute, the psychedelic change in pure Pink Floyd style gently introduce a massive dose of heavy and elephantine riffs, where the vocals become, if possible, even more intensive and profound. The third part of Sativan Harvest accompanies the listener towards the end of Temples, where guitars, bass and drum give way to synths, strings and cellos, in an ending that leaves you speechless, where the dark atmospheres of the whole album are replaced by a deep sense of calm, where doom meets Björk. The perfect ending to a great album.

What else can I say...Holy Shit! Holy Serpent!

Words by Bruno Bellisario

Thanks to Dave at US/THEM Group for the promo. Temples will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via RidingEasy Records from September 30th 2016.