ROTE MARE - Serpents Of The Church

Rote Mare - Serpents Of The Church

7 songs
76:23 minutes
***** **
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Rote Mare started in 2005 as the solo project of Phil Howlett in Adelaide in South Australia. The busy musicians released eight demos until Rote Mare became a fully functional band that released their EP Sorrows Path in 2010. Now they are back with their first longplayer Serpents Of The Church, a true-to-form doom metal album whose seven songs make it to over seventy-six minutes of playing time.

Influenced by every possible stream of doom metal, from period Black Sabbath over early Trouble to more contemporary acts like Reverend Bizarre, it’s obvious that Rote Mare don’t do anything new, instead the quartet comes up with its own distilled idea of over four decades of slow rhythm metal music. Apart from Slow Decay (Sonic Mantra) and In Doom’s Name (The Chosen Ones) which both are “only” between seven and eight minutes long, the remaining five tracks all range between ten and fifteen minutes. I have to admit that I have always had a fondness for doom bands that respect the vast lengths their genre allow them, and I can’t blame Rote Mare for contenting themselves with anything less.

The modern, more extreme influences can best be heard on the dragging quarter hour long Funeral Song, although it seems to me that Black Sabbath and especially Trouble have left the biggest traces. This means that despite the material’s generous lengths, it is very important for the band to maintain a solid sense of melody within the dreary atmospheres of their songs.

You might not feel the same sparkling sense of magic that you encountered way back when you first heard the bands that inspired Rote Mare, but Serpents Of The Church is nonetheless a highly promising band debut which not only has a perfect sense of form, but doesn’t neglect content either. I am curious to see if they continue their slow music in the same quick release schedule, and what new wonders they will enchant their audience with in the hopefully near future.

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