Review by Felix on June 14, 2023.
At one time, there was a column in the German Metal Hammer called “Track Attack” or something like that, in which musicians were supposed to comment on individual songs. This was not always without accidents. At some point Blackie Lawless sat there and said about a song: "That's fast. That's speed metal. Speed metal has to be speedy." Very intelligent, who would dare to disagree?
Well, Violent Sin at least not. The guys from Belgium do not break all speed records, but their songs are swift as an arrow and rely on a good flow. It’s nice to see that the material is free from any gram of fat. The guys had ideas for 36 minutes and this is exactly the playtime of Serpent’s Call. No useless repetitions are always a good thing, because we have no time to lose in view of the big number of further great albums. Nevertheless, let’s stay here. A bulky riff kicks off the opener, but more characteristic for the songs of the five-piece are straight verses, concise choruses and a rather non-technical approach. There is a big portion of the eighties in their sound, not only due to the conventional song patterns and some high-pitched screams, but also a lot of reverb and a proper number of cool, well-hung riffs. The beginning of 'Awaiting The Gallows' delivers one of the best, but more or less all songs are convincing with regard to their energetic verve. Guess it’s common understanding that screaming and howling guitars are never wrong.
Violent Sin is among those pretty magical bands that can create something fresh while using only old ingredients. They feel comfortable in the triangle formed by the early outputs of Denmark’s Evil, Exciter and Mercyful Fate minus their progressive elements. Yes, everything sounds somewhat generic and due to the very homogeneous song-writing, the songs merge together. But that’s no problem for an ordinary metalhead like me – I just enjoy the cuts from position one to eleven without thinking too much about variety, subtle nuances or academic excursions. Quite the opposite, I am happy that all musicians are interested in song-friendly contributions instead of exposing their egos. Therefore, it is only logical that even the solos are focussed on compactness. These short outbreaks are well embedded into the songs and do not deviate almost a millimetre from the given path.
Serpent’s Call belongs to those albums without highlights. This statement must be understood as a compliment; all songs are good, impulsive and vital. Somehow I'm glad that the band doesn't give a damn about the zeitgeist. This is the mentality that made metal great. Maybe the title of the closer says it all, because yes, Violent Sin deliver a 'Strike From The Underground'. This strike does not come too soon, because the best times of Belgium’s Acid are long gone. All the better that these guys stand in their tradition. And if someone (Blackie Lawless, for example) were to hold a gun to my head and force me to name my favourite on this permanently good-class work, I would choose 'Malicious Stirring' because of the anthemic chorus. But only then.
Rating: 8 out of 10634