Weverin - Serpent Light
War Flagellation Productions
Black / Death Metal
9 songs (34:11)
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Kyle
Surprise of the month

When it comes to Black Metal, there’s a fine line between brilliance and mediocrity. It doesn’t take much effort to achieve greatness; one must simply take the old formula and either push it into rarely-explored territories, or leave it exactly where it is and rely on nothing more than a talent for writing excellent, grim riffs. Failure to do either of these doesn’t necessarily mean that your band is bad; a bad Black Metal band is a rather rare occurrence in my experience, as Black Metal in its primitive state is a rather bare-bones genre as it is, and not much is expected out of the bands that choose to follow this path. USBM band Weverin is somewhat of an oddity in the fact that it seems to both remain stagnant in the genre’s roots, with a horribly raw guitar sound and an overall sense of grimness in the vocals and riffs, while simultaneously pushing forward with an obvious Death Metal influence and some utterly eerie yet subtly atmospheric moments.

Serpent Light is Weverin’s third full-length album (but the first and only record I’ve heard from the band), and what an entertaining one it is. Most bands today that show an influence from both the Black and Death metal genres opt for a form of Blackened Death Metal (Behemoth, Belphegor), but Weverin chooses to blend Black Metal melodies in with Death Metal riff structures to create a sound that’s fresh and unique; As Zadok described it, it sounds almost like a Blackened Morbid Angel. In the intro and in the sole interlude on the album (Angelic Sin and Charred In Sorcery And Skinless Ink), there is some very demonic narration afoot, with ominous, atmospheric synth work in the background, and the spoken narrations are very well done; Charred In Sorcery And Skinless Ink is downright unsettling in how evil it sounds.

The first two proper tracks after the intro, The Ones Crucified Among The Lair and Master!!!, provide a short taste of the weird, demonic sounds yet to come. Both showcase some classic Death Metal – style riffs and some unique styles that you’ll eventually come to learn as Weverin’s signature style. The short intro to The Ones Crucified Among The Lair shows a vaguely atmospheric guitar line before breaking into the meat of the track. Laced throughout the song are widdly high-end guitar fills that not only make the music all the more eerie, but also add more layers to the mix. Nearly every time I listen to Serpent’s Light, I find something new that I hadn’t noticed previously; on the Deathier tracks, there’s a lot going on at one time, and even if it does seem a bit thrown together, it’s still intriguing and catchy.

Other highlights include the title track of Serpent Light, which is easily one of the best songs on the album, and is also the longest of the nine tracks. The intro to it is similar to the one for The Ones Crucified Among The Lair, but longer: melodic yet ominous, with only a single distorted guitar playing before the song kicks off with blastbeats and diabolical riffs that last for the rest of the remaining five minutes. Another high point is Depart Unto The Fountains Of The Dead, with a horrific and unnerving beginning that abruptly erupts into one of the more Death Metal influenced songs on the record, with surprisingly technical riffing; it seems there are twists around every dark corner with Weverin. But as entertaining as Serpent Light is, it’s not without its drawbacks. The production here is uncompromisingly raw; the guitar tone could very easily hurt your ears if you’re wearing a loud pair of headphones, and the snare drum and bass guitar are all but inaudible. It also ruins Of Wolves And Glory, one of the more “Experimental” tracks, that would probably have sounded much better if production had been cleaner. As mentioned before, some moments also seem rather thrown together when Weverin attempts to create guitar harmonies or add in multiple vocalists, and while this makes the music more interesting, it’s a shame that it’s not done more professionally.

For a self-recorded album by an unknown band, however, Serpent Light is far better than I was expecting upon initial listenings from their Myspace page. It’s definitely a grower, and the production is off-putting at first, but much like Slayer albums are for me for me, I’ve come to enjoy this album far more than I did on my first spin. This definitely isn’t for everyone, but if raw production isn’t a problem for you, then fans of the more visceral styles of black metal should check this out.

Killing Songs :
The Ones Crucified Among The Lair, Serpent Light, Depart Unto The Fountains Of The Dead
Kyle quoted 79 / 100
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