“Swallow The Venom”

By Dr. Abner Mality

“Swallow The Venom” is the best Electric Wizard album in the last ten years. It may annoy France’s Witchthroat Serpent to hear their new album described that way but it’s the truth. This album has the bone-crushing guitar sound and knee buckling riffs of “Dopethrone” era Wizard down pat and no matter how much you may hope for something more original, it is impossible to deny the sheer heaviness and killer riffing here.

After the breathy female incantations of “Feu Sacre”, I thought this might be another wishy washy occult rock album, but “Lucifer’s Fire” burns hot and furious with evil doom metal. Witchthroat Serpent unleash a throbbing, pulverizing guitar sound that ranks with the heaviest. The vocalist’s thin and whiny tones echo Jus Oborn’s more somber moment and get kind of annoying on occasion, but that catchy riffing blows all away. The song is no one timer, either, as the rest of the record brims with much of the same. I dare anyone to listen to “Scorpent Serpion” and “Red Eyed Albino” and not be crushed by the elemental force therein. It is almost scandalously unoriginal, drenched in Electric Wizard and also Reverend Bizarre, but power is power and you must bow to it.

The band occasionally dabbles in pure psychedelia and there are some eerie mellower moments here as well, but “Swallow The Venom” never strays far from brutal riffology. A dangerous dose of poison for sure!