By Dr. Abner Mality

I'd hate to have SERPENT OMEGA's vocalist Urskogr yelling at me to take the trash out. This  banshee has a voice that sounds like a cat sharpening its claws on a blackboard. That toneless caterwauling does this Swedish sludge band few favors on "II".

This is pretty heavy stuff but not exactly earth-shattering. Urskogr's bellowing grates on me. I don't mind harsh female vocals, but there's something flat and flavorless about this yelling that sours my milk. She does occasionally try for something different, such as clean melodic tones on "Rivers of Reversed" but the usual howling predominates. Other than that, SERPENT OMEGA delivers serviceable death-tinged sludge. Strangely enough, it's the two longest songs, "Rivers of Reversed" and "Cthonic" that deliver the most damage. These are swampy, low-tuned riff-fests full of knee-buckling hooks and powerful tribal drumming from Mr. Pete Stjarnvind, who also tortures the toms for ENTOMBED, NIFLEHEIM, and more. Pete's powerful drumming is one of the highlights of the record.

The band also dabbles in shorter, faster tunes like "Through The Gates" that have a crusty punk flavor to them. They don't stick in the head as much as those longer tunes mentioned above and of course, there's the hideous howls of Ms. Urskogr to deal with. To get to the heart of the matter, SERPENT OMEGA is a fairly average sludge act.