Vessel of Light’s second album, Thy Serpent Rise, pushes their brand of grungy doom in a dirtier direction. While the group’s songwriting is still predominately based around straightforward grooves, there seems to be less of a melodic component present as the riffs are blunter, and the vocals play more into a gruffly barked delivery. The sex-murder lyrics also take on a decidedly sleazier tone if such barely innuendo titles like “Meet and Bone” and “Rush of Blood” are anything to go by.
Alas, these elements manifest in some rather undercooked songs. Tracks like “Save My Soul” and “Eternal Sleep” have some catchy riffs but are ultimately let down by structures that either fizzle out before reaching full development or were just shallowly constructed to begin with. These feel more like good ideas for songs than fully-fledged compositions, and the lack of cohesion between tracks only reinforces the album’s cobbled-together nature. Try as the interludes might to fill things out, any atmosphere like that seen in 2018’s Woodshed is nowhere to be found.
This is especially unfortunate as the playing actually sounds pretty good. With the addition of Hades members Ron Lipnicki and Jimmy Schulman, the lineup sounds fuller as the drums feel looser, and the bass puts in some extra weight. Elsewhere, guitarist Dan Lorenzo’s tone is enjoyably beefy, and Nathan Opposition’s vocals are competent even if his croons are sorely missed. At the very least, the performances certainly fit the style that they were going for.
As much as I respect Vessel of Light for keeping a steady flow of releases in a clearly fruitful collaboration, it just doesn’t pan out on Thy Serpent Rise. There’s nothing bad on here beyond a cringy line or two, but the enjoyable elements fail to materialize a greater whole. One can imagine these riffs sounding so much stronger with more fine-tuned arrangements and a finer eye for mood and atmosphere. This may still be a fun listen for fans of Life of Agony or Danzig, but these guys have already proven that they can do better.
“Rush of Blood”