Doom Snake Cult – Love, Sorrow, Doom

doom snake cult - cover

Nuclear War Now! Productions

9/10 – Jamie Cansdale

It doesn’t get more “cult” than this, ladies and gentlemen. When metal aficionados discuss rare albums by the most obscure bands odds are, if they know their doom, this gem will be mentioned, and hopefully with the highest regard. Thankfully, the folks at NWN! have made obtaining this record originally released in ’92 (yet recorded two years before) a whole lot easier. Cunningly abbreviated to LSD, this is an album so far apart from other death/doom records at the time. This maybe down to geography – the band came from Las Vegas, whereas many of the more recognisable names of the genre such as Winter, Mythic and Dérketa were on the other end of the continent.

With that in mind however, DSC sound nothing like the band it birthed from: the legendary Goatlord. Whilst the latter had more in common with the East-Coast scene, the former sounds murkier and more ghastly than anything that came out at the time. Throughout its 40 minute runtime the listener is cast down into a terrifying nightmare that he or she cannot wake from, a nightmare deep within the self; vocalist Ace Still rips through the inner psyche with his gnarling howls whilst his LSD-tinged lyrics infect the very core. At times, he reminds one of what would become David Vincent circa ‘91, especially in the frenzied barbarism that is Fertility Rites.

Although the albums showcases some faster numbers, such as the aforementioned Fertility Rites and Love (which features some rather excellent drum rolls in the middle), it is definitely its longer and slower anthems where the haunting ghoul within the album truly lies. Opener for the NWN release, Enchanted Cerebral Forest, opens with the creepiest of howls rolling into that poignant first lyric – journey to the centre of your mind – executed in a way that delivers a horrifying meaning to the words. In fact, Still’s vox, whilst never varying from this, adds such a quality to the seemingly deep lyrics that they unnerve instead of enlighten, as seen in his reasoning for taken LSD in Sorrow.

doom snake cult - band photo

Other numbers such as Frozen Doll Land and closer Carnival Freak Show add a layer of creepy charm amidst the fortunate monotony of the album, with the former’s chimes and screeching guitar slides, and the latter’s eerie backdrop of carnival sounds. I say monotony in the best sense. There is little variation to be found here, but the slow grooves and simplistic drumming found in each song are enough to satisfy the palate of the doom fan; any difference would weaken the ghoulish atmosphere present here. What makes this release even better is the new album artwork, exclusively created for this rerelease; its purples and greens provide a Lovecraftian aesthete, and the skull that stares directly in to you perfectly personifies this unique gem, making this one of the best rereleases of late.