Raised By Wolves"

By Lord Randall

Rain and hypnotic guitar fingerings usher in Raised By Wolves. Drums 
roll in like storm clouds, a more “real” and rustic mix than in Weight Of Light becoming immediately noticeable until the sky opens just after the 2-minute mark, the title track no less mesmerizing for its ferocity. Breathless panting morphs into a veritable chorus of moaning / howling, sounding damn near Gregorian at times, and chanting behind the sparse vocal lines. Less a song and more an invocation – a summoning, if you will -

‘Raised By Wolves’ is less than 5 minutes into their second album, and already trying to move past their previous metal (and metal) horizons, thus far succeeding. Aside from a slight variation in drumming and tempo near the end, we find the threesome working within the framework of a single riff, bleeding it to near-dry, yet still remaining somehow interesting. Segueing seamlessly into ‘Crippled And Frozen’, part of me wished someone would shut the window already. Thankfully the musical storm conjured up by SERPENTCULT shows no sign of abating. I do believe that for a split second the drumming was off-time, but instead of disappointment, such occurrences highlight the humanity of the project – the visceral quality with which Raised By Wolves is imbued.

A lumbering groove surfaces, bringing to mind a more rough ‘n’ tumble sibling of KATATONIA’s Brave Murder Day. I also sense a bit of early ‘90s Helmet, though more loosely played, as such a staccato attack would never fit. From here, the album veritably slithers into ‘Longing For Hyperborea’, SERPENTCULT shaking off the glacial speed of the former track to become downright groovy and – yes – nasty at times. There’s a shamanistic quality to the proceedings, only the kind of “shamanistic” that invokes visions of orgiastic glee just before being overtaken by a rumbling steamroller. The only improvement I could suggest might’ve been drafting Atilla Csihar for his renowned throat-singing to add an even more mystic aura. Piano-tinged and reminiscent of the title track, ‘Growth Of The Soil’ picks up the pace somewhere around 3 minutes in, choppy chords serving only to heighten anticipation for what’s to come, even this late in the album. Raised By Wolves has a wealth of peaks and valleys within its soundscape, and when the summit is reached within the finale, the whole thing explodes into sonic Armageddon, pouring napalm into the primordial stew.

No matter where SERPENTCULT goes from this point, fans and converts will remember  "Raised By Wolves" as the album that set the benchmark for future endeavors. Vital.