Doedsvangr – Serpents Ov Old – Album Review

Artist: Doedsvangr

Album Title: Serpents Ov Old

Label: Debemur Morti Productions

Date of Release: 29 October 2021

Continuing apace with my rediscovered love of reviewing, today I bring you my thoughts on a vicious little beast otherwise known as ‘Serpents Ov Old’, the second release from Doedsvangr following up their 2017 debut ‘Satan Ov Suns’. It’s my first foray into the dark, depraved world of this particular band, a band that features musicians from both Norway and Finland. A quartet, Doedsvangr currently consists of vocalist Doedsadmiral, guitarists and bassists Shatraug and BST, and drummer AntiChristian. In addition, ‘Serpents Ov Old’ welcomes two guest vocalists in the shape of Vicotnic and Nag who feature on a couple of the tracks here.

Put simply, ‘Serpents Ov Old’ is a record very much for fans of the black metal scene, but the kind of black metal that’s raw, vicious, spiteful, and full of that dirt and grime that you traditionally expect from the genre. Doedsvangr take their cue from the likes of Venom and Mayhem, but don’t just remain there as pure copycats. Instead, they seek to blend the uncompromising rawness of scything, cold riffs, blasts and depraved growls with a little melody and, as the press release suggests, a rock ‘n’ roll swagger. Thinking about it, given how spiky the music on this album actually is, I suggest ‘concoct’ might be a better adjective than ‘blend’.

At this stage, I’ll be totally honest; ‘Serpents Ov Old’ isn’t an easy listen. The production is deliberately dense and slightly raw, with an emphasis on the treble. It means that, after a while, I get a little fatigued and my ears yearn for a break from the pummelling. And, even at 44 minutes in length, it does feel a little long, with a lack of a wow factor at points within the record. At one point, my eldest daughter was heard to say ‘Daddy, this music sounds all the same’. That’s a little unfair on Doedsvangr, but there is a vague vein of truth there. But regardless of these concerns, I do find myself returning for repeated listens more frequently than I expected.

Personally speaking, I find that Doedsvangr are at their best when the melodies are more overt and anthemic. It doesn’t happen often enough for my tastes but when it does, the results are very powerful. Take ‘As The Rivers Bleed Their Blessings’ as the perfect example. It starts off with a mid-tempo stomp that carries with it a sense of doomy malevolence, an inexorable type of violence that suddenly opens up into a much more accessible and anthemic affair, led by an icy lead guitar line that’s so catchy it’s ridiculous. It’s not only arresting, it provides a little welcome release from the intense battery elsewhere.

The final track, ‘Poisonous Tides’ doesn’t necessarily deserve its run-time of over seven minutes, but it does carry with it a more majestic air than most; it generally plunders a strong, almost hypnotic mid-tempo that has a demonstrable charm, whilst the subtle dusting of melody towards the latter stages ensures that the album ends on a very positive note.

‘Black Dragon Phoenix’ meanwhile benefits from a nice mid-section that injects a more pronounced mid-tempo groove as well as melody. The use of some tortured spoken-word vocals and a hint of cleaner singing helps to add to the sense of drama, making this one of the stand-out tracks on ‘Serpents Ov Old’.

Interestingly, I’m also drawn to songs like ‘Carrier Of Heads’ because of the thunderous drumming that sits at its heart as well as the chosen riffs that are both potent and as impenetrable as a glacier. But within the song, there are periods where it almost gallops with a sense of undeniable arrogance.

Otherwise, the music is pretty devilish, unrelenting, and definitely unrepentant. It will appeal to those who enjoy their black metal in this vein for sure, as it does what it does very well indeed. It’s a more than competent affair, and Doedsvangr are definitely a tight unit, bringing all the necessary skills and ingredients to bear. As far as I’m concerned though, whilst I like a lot of the material here, I’d have preferred a greater use of melody as heard within ‘As The Rivers Bleed Their Blessings’. This is such a good song, it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity not to explore this avenue more. As such, ‘Serpents Ov Old’ is a good album, just not an essential addition to my collection.

The Score of Much Metal: 77%

Further reviews from 2021:

Cynic – Ascension Codes

TDW – Fountains

Hypocrisy – Worship

W.E.B. – Colosseum

Navian – Cosmos

NorthTale – Eternal Flame

Obscura – A Valediction

Nightland – The Great Nothing

MØL – Diorama

Be’lakor – Coherence

Hollow – Tower

Doedsvangr – Serpents Ov Old

Athemon – Athemon

Eclipse – Wired

Swallow The Sun – Moonflowers

Dream Theater – A View From The Top Of The World

Nestor – Kids In A Ghost Town

Beast In Black – Dark Connection

Thulcandra – A Dying Wish

Omnium Gatherum – Origin

Insomnium – Argent Moon EP

Kryptan – Kryptan EP

Archspire – Bleed The Future

Awake By Design – Unfaded EP

Cradle Of Filth – Existence Is Futile

Seven Spires – Gods Of Debauchery

Sleep Token – This Place Will Become Your Tomb

Necrofier – Prophecies Of Eternal Darkness

Ex Deo – The Thirteen Years Of Nero

Carcass – Torn Arteries

Aeon Zen – Transversal

Enslaved – Caravans To The Outer Worlds

A Dying Planet – When The Skies Are Grey

Leprous – Aphelion

Night Crowned – Hädanfärd

Brainstorm – Wall Of Skulls

At The Gates – The Nightmare Of Being

Rivers Of Nihil – The Work

Fractal Universe – The Impassable Horizon

Darkthrone – Eternal Hails

Thy Catafalque – Vadak

Terra Odium – Ne Plus Ultra

Hiraes – Solitary

Eye Of Purgatory – The Lighthouse

Crowne – Kings In The North

Desaster – Churches Without Saints

Helloween – Helloween

Fear Factory – Aggression Continuum

Wooden Veins – In Finitude

Plaguestorm – Purifying Fire

Drift Into Black – Patterns Of Light

Alluvial – Sarcoma

White Moth Black Butterfly – The Cost Of Dreaming – Album Review

Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen

Bloodbound – Creatures From The Dark Realm

Nahaya – Vital Alchemy

Frost* – Day And Age

Obsolete Theory – Downfall

Vola – Witness

Acolyte – Entropy

Dordeduh – Har

Subterranean Masquerade – Mountain Fever

Seth – La Morsure Du Christ

The Circle – Metamorphosis

Nordjevel – Fenriir

Vreid – Wild North West

Temtris – Ritual Warfare

Astrakhan – A Slow Ride Towards Death

Akiavel – Vae Victis

Gojira – Fortitude

Hideous Divinity – LV-426

Benthos – II

Evile – Hell Unleashed

Ninkharsag – The Dread March Of Solemn Gods

Bodom After Midnight – Paint The Sky With Blood

Morrigu – In Turbulence

Mother Of All – Age Of The Solipsist

Throne – Pestilent Dawn

Sweet Oblivion (Geoff Tate) – Relentless

Exanimis – Marionnettiste

Dvne – Etemen Ænka

Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined

Arion – Vultures Die Alone

Maestitium – Tale Of The Endless

Wode – Burn In Many Mirrors

Everdawn – Cleopatra

Unflesh – Inhumation

Mourning Dawn – Dead End Euphoria

Wheel – Resident Human

Wythersake – Antiquity

Odd Dimension – The Blue Dawn

Metalite – A Virtual World

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm

Ghosts Of Atlantis – 3.6.2.4

Memoriam – To The End

Aversed – Impermanent

Secret Sphere – Lifeblood

Enforced – Kill Grid

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3

Turbulence – Frontal

Iotunn – Access All Worlds

Warrior Path – The Mad King

Stortregn – Impermanence

Mariana’s Rest – Fata Morgana

Orden Ogan – Final Days

Witherfall – Curse Of Autumn

Plague Weaver – Ascendant Blasphemy

Ephemerald – Between The Glimpses Of Hope

Paranorm – Empyrean

Einherjer – North Star

Epica – Omega

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde

Simulacrum – Genesis

Forhist – Forhist

Evergrey – Escape Of The Phoenix

Empyrium – Über den Sternen

Moonspell – Hermitage

Infernalizer – The Ugly Truth

Temperance – Melodies Of Green And Blue EP

Malice Divine – Malice Divine

Revulsion – Revulsion

Demon King – The Final Tyranny EP

Dragony – Viribus Unitis

Soen – Imperial

Angelus Apatrida – Angelus Apatrida

Oceana – The Pattern

Therion – Leviathan

Tribulation – Where The Gloom Becomes Sound

Asphyx – Necroceros

W.E.T. – Retransmission

Labyrinth – Welcome To The Absurd Circus

TDW – The Days The Clock Stopped

Need – Norchestrion: A Song For The End

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s