Apr 13, 2014
Before I get to the tunes, just want to say that thanks to the bassist/singer in The Company Corvette and one Mr. Sean "Pellet". The Vette man was open to my fandom, and basically since it was my second time seeing them (first last summer opening for Pentagram), I told him that they'd REALLY improved/tightened up and gotten to know their material very intimately. We shook hands and smiled. I saw Pellet right next to me, never having introduced myself at the 'Ram gig, I thought I should have last night. I thanked him so much for putting this gig together, and for everything he did for Bobby, because without him, I probably never would have seen Pentagram the two times I have thus far. He was very grateful and even said that it's comments like that that encourage him, and I thought that was pretty nice of him. Throughout the headbanging, we'd glance at each other and agree: this was a good show that got put together, and we were here.
Now, the Comp. Vette. Holy hell have those cats been practicing. They've their own sound now. When I first caught them, there was a glaring Sleep influence woven in each song; last night, I didn't recognize that influence. They've developed into a tight band, with really lovely guitar solos and breakdowns. The drummer had an old pair of blues brothers sunglasses on, which was adorable. Very, very grooving set that had my head banging every which way.
Serpent Throne took the tiny stage next, and I wished I had picked up an album earlier to familiarize myself, but alas, fresh to me was the way to be, and i didn't mind. Hearing 45 minutes of notes you've never heard is also lovely. I believe they are an instrumental only band, but they made up for that in spades with twin harmonies, dueling screeching guitar solos, ascending higher pitched riffs and melodies and just in a general a lovely Thin Lizzy/Judas Priest instrumental vibe emanated through the fog. It was very classic sounding; not too many moments to headbang to; I was more interested in staring at the beautiful sounds wafting through the air, wanting to break down and sob from the beauty of the doomed riffs. I guess it's like instrumental Pallbearer, but was more classic metal sounding and way less doom. They were really fun to watch; during the split guitar solos each guitarist was making any number of guitar faces to mirror the singing and stinging their instruments were squealing on about. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended if you're missing that old school, higher-pitched ascending riffery-type metal.
On then to Bang!
Last Will & Testament, Mother...everything you wanted to hear from them was heard. Frank and Frankie gel so well together on stage; might have something to do with the fact that they've been playing these jams together for well over four decades. This was Bang!'s return to Philly gig, a 40 year separation finally fixed for our ears and eyes. They had an awesome backdrop too. The new/young drummer was right on, even given a tasty solo moment. I've seen a few proto metal bands at this point, Sabbath and Pentagram twice, Cactus and now Bang as well. I firmly believe that Cactus and Pentagram the second time I saw them (with that young guitarist before Victor rejoined) maintained the closest to original 70's tones. Not that Sabbath or Bang didn't sound old-school, more that as instruments have progressed and tone is widened and reverberated longer and whathaveyou, it kinda changes from that old 70's sound.
The songs sounded fresh, reinvigorated even; I would have loved to have heard an older tone, but what they have now works well for them, and absolutely I would see them again. In May in Brooklyn at my favorite bar, Saint Vitus, Bang! will play to 99 people and boy would I have liked to have made that. If you can see the Brooklyn show and were angry for missing the Philly homecoming, go to Vitus bar and catch Bang! You will not leave without having been properly rocked. People always claimed that Bang! were America's answer to Sabbath; I always heard a big Beatles influence too, in the softer stuff and the sung harmonies, etc. Really, really timeless music that so few people even know exists. This band should be in stadiums. And you have the chance to go see them in front of 99 people at my favorite bar. I envy you. And I demand a review from you upon completion of said gig. That is all. Enjoy the weekend weather, and thanks for reading as always.
Words: Sabbath Jeff
Mar 25, 2013
Jan 11, 2011
Opening track, "Headed For An Unmarked Grave" displays where the rest of the album will go in just a bit over four minutes, it is druggy, jammy and sounds incredibly natural as nothing sounds forced. Demian Fenton and Don Argott unleashed some mind-blowing twin-leads on the album a-la Wishbone Ash or Thin Lizzy, very melodic but high on dynamics. While there is 9 songs on the album, the album flows mostly like one long jamming riff-fest and you can easily get lost within this recording and lose track of what tune you are listening to, I think that has happen to me every time I have listened to the album. The riffing is all great but the band seems to be at their peak during the more experimental moments, the parts that are a little off-the-wall are what stand out the most. Of course the album is incredibly infectious with the title track, "Controlled By Lunar Forces," "March Of The Druids" and "Riff Forest" all blending into each other. While they are not as experimental in their jamming as say "Earthless," they are just as excellent in terms of knowing their way around riff-work and especially when it comes to writing concise songs. These instrumentals are not self-indulgent riff-fests, they are solid, catchy songs that are just done without vocals. Most instrumental bands do it to showcase their ability as musicians, Serpent Throne do it to showcase what competent songwriters they are. Again, I will say if these songs had vocals from a talented singer, they would all be anthems of the highest magnitude.
There is also much versatility going on, "Pagan Eclipse" features an organ or is a Mellotron while acoustic guitar is used on other songs. Diversity shows itself on "Mushroom Cloud" which provides a soothing interlude with a more gentle approach to the guitars and soft drum-work. The albums closing track, "Last Spark Of The Sun" provides some of the records most interesting lead-breaks so there is many different sides to this album. One song that breaks their usual mold is "Four Winds" that starts with a drum solo and I wonder if this was influenced by Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" or "Four Sticks" that are also based around the drums. In this track the guitars don't enter the picture to the dying stages but when they do, it sends a shiver up the spine, a pure magical rock moment. There is also an atmosphere on this album that is unique, something mystical and mysterious. The album art evokes that feeling even more. I rate this album as their best yet, the songs are super-catchy and the analog production sounds fuller than earlier albums but I still wish they had a singer, however I still love this album............9/10
Jul 13, 2009
Another long overdue review but one that must go out for all lovers of the riff."Serpent Throne's" "The Battle Of The Old Crow" is the follow to their masterpiece "Ride Satan Ride" which is a total classic in its own right so it was a pleasant surprise to find this album is even better.First up it must be point out that this is a instrumental record and there is not many instrumental bands in the Stoner Rock genre that can keep my attention as much as this band apart from "Mystic Krewe Of Clearlight" who released that killer album some 9 years ago.I am one of those people that loves riffs and wants a lot of them,the more the better and "Serpent Throne" have some of the best riffs you will ever hear.This album is a riff fest from start to finish and while most bands like this would be searching for another "Ozzy Osbourne" wannabe to fill the vocal spot,"Serpent Throne" have so much to offer the riff junkie that vocals are really unnecessary.The band is one half Fuzzed Out Stoner Rock and one half 70's inspired Twin Guitar Shredding Hard Rock.Some of the more obvious influences are Sabbath,Lizzy,Mountain,Captain Beyond,Leafhound,Budgie but there is a strong element of early 80's Doom Rock like Pagan Altar and Witchfinder General.This is pure party Stoner Rock,the perfect companion to a smoking/drinking session and its so good that the 10 tracks fly by you leaving you craving more.Production on this album is made for this type of music,the guitars are front and center and everything has just the right amount of punch.Not much point in doing a track by track analysis because all the tracks flow in each other with ease,this is a band that could come up with a 60 minute epic without any problem at all.They have a kind of big riff grandiosity which gets lost in some other dirty Stoner Rocking bands and this may sound cheesy but if you think you might be too old for air guitar then give this band a listen.9.5/10