The other day I had a really emotionally heavy morning, followed by a long drive that called for something very specific musically. I'm never sure if I'm picking the right thing, but the two-album saga I ended up with, Scott 4 by Scott Walker and Blood Seed by Wolvserpent, in that order, set me right for the rest of a strange and beautiful San Francisco day that vacillated between pea soup fog and clear sunny skies.

After the florid pastures of Scott Walker's mystic orchestral pop, things came to a sudden, stunning halt with the otherworldly drone that opens Blood Seed (20 Buck Spin, 2010). (Stream the album here.) The sounds almost synaesthetically conjure the bleakest images from David Lynch's Twin Peaks, particularly murderous FBI agent Windom Earle's grimy haunted log cabin. A lone cello weaves its way around the drone until a lurching clean guitar breaks through with an unsettling flat-fifth tonality that reminds me of the intro to Slayer's "Spill The Blood" slowed to a narcotic crawl.

Actually, much of this album's first half (Blood Seed is an LP of two side-long pieces, "Wolv" and "Serpent") reminds of the "calm before the storm" parts of '80s thrash, but stretched out WAY longer. I assume this is their exclusive sonic mode, which would have been fine by me as they certainly have a way with it. By the time I reach "Serpent", however, chunky metal riffs hit in earnest, and I'm smiling because I am just tickled by their ambition. Wolvserpent really know how to amp it up slowly and purposefully, and when they reach the burly peaks of Mt. Riffage, it's SO worth the tease of the slow climb. My only criticism is that after a while the riffing goes on cruise control; I'd say the last 1/3 of the album is less compelling than the first 2/3. Yet this is a point of refinement, really. What they're doing is very good and can only get better.

Blood Seed is a vast and epic landscape of a piece that sends me on the journey, something I don't often get in a sea of modern bands trying to simplify themselves for the blogerati. You'd do well to listen to this LP in one sitting. Excellent road trip music and the first new album since Ludicra's The Tenant that I am looking forward to for repeated listens. Reveal your treasures to me slowly, Blood Seed!

— Alee Karim

Amazon (MP3)
20 Buck Spin (LP)
Stream the whole album here

See first installment of tour diary here

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WOLVSERPENT US TOUR 2010
Remaining dates

Oct 29-31 @ VAC Boise ID
Nov 4 Seattle WA @ The Comet w/(a) Story of Rats
Nov 5 Portland @ Plan B
Nov 6 Eugene OR @ The Gup w/Rye Wolves & Vivimancer
Nov 7 Salem OR @ Burial Grounds

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