WHAT IS THE WEIGHT OF LIGHT? A SERPENTCULT REVIEW
There’s a flare of subsonic noise and distortion, mounting feedback and that queasy feeling you get when you’re about to be buried by a cascading avalanche. I braced myself for it, use my last inhalation on my lit cigarette. I knew this was gonna be Doom alright, Doom for me and Doom for everyone.
They say Doom isn’t the same as it used to be. They say things have changed, the stoners got lazier, easily impressed, while the hipsters moved in and just bearded up everything. I knew I wasn’t the only one who remembered Holy Mountain and Dopethrone, but sometimes it felt that way. I knew there was still some of the good stuff going round, and every once in a while I’d walk up and down those rain-soaked streets that reeked like pot and where the people moved as slow as the music did. I’d hear some Sludge kids on the sidewalk yelling about dopesickness or catch the last of a bluesy solo from the open door of smoky bar. I’d even stop to listen and when I went on my way sometimes you’d even catch my ugly mug stretched tight into an ugly grin.
“Wipe that smirk off ya face, you putz,” I heard from the alleyway to my left. I reached for my revolver under my trench coat, the cold steel contrasting with the warmth of my sweaty pit. You had to be on top of your surroundings out here, let your guard down for one moment and that’s when the kite string pops, my friend.
“Relax, it’s me,” I heard again from the darkness. Then it hit me like a toppling Sunn amp. It was Rosenberg. He was one of those hardboiled New-York types, jerk by instinct but a steady source of bread for me. He knew what I liked and he always had a new case for me to handle. This time it was a new gang in town, Belgians no less, call themselves Serpentcult. A phrase glared up at me from the dossier I was handed.
“What’s The Weight of Light?” I asked.
“That’s what I wanna know, you got that?” Rosenberg snapped.
I told him to leave it to me. After that he excused himself as the clouds opened up and let loose the rain and a church bell tolled in the background. Déjà vu. He said something about the monkeys hating rain. Right, the monkeys. That nut was always on about his monkeys.
So there I was in my office, listening to the first strains of feedback, waiting for the Doom. A lit Dunhill in one hand and a double Jim Beam in the other. The first riff of “New World Order” hits me harder than the bourbon and it tastes like Buzzoven. I’m impressed. This quartet isn’t afraid to get sludgy from the get go. The guitars are tuned down so low they shake your guts up, but the real star of the show is the dame with the voice. This Michelle Nocon isn’t your usual Eurometal crooner, she sounds a bit like Ozzy when he was sober and less embarrassing, but she can actually sing. She takes patience as her main virtue, like on “Arckanum” where the song is half done before she even gets a word in. Now that’s the sort of maturity and skill these new kids ought to look up to, instead of hiring some beardo who can’t shut up for a moment. There are times of violent, sludgy thrashing, but Serpentcult came to town to drag everyone down with ‘em. They’re slower than a day at the office and heavier than your wife. The droney dissonance I found in “Awakening the Kraken” is enough make you queasy.
I liked it, especially the faster catchier parts at the end of “Templar” and “Red Dawn,” even though the latter one got me thinking of Soviets and Patrick Swayze. By the end of my bourbon though I’m still not sure if this is better than what I heard on the street today. Though I give ‘em credit for the psychedelic madness they put on me at the end of the title track.
I go to the phone booth across the street (my line of work doesn’t always pay the phone bills, you know). The cold steel of the umbrella held above my head reminds me to check for dark alleyways. I dial a number.
“Hey Axl, how’s things from the mansion?”
“Is this a safe line? I told you not to call me,” Rosenberg berated me again.
“I just wanted to let you know I found out the answer to your question,” I spoke back.
“Oh yeah?” he inquired.
“The Weight of Light… it’s pretty fucking heavy.”
(3 out 5 Horns)