Doom, stoner and sludge metal are the neglected kids when it comes to the genres Metal-Exposure tends to cover. Not due to lack of interest, but rather due to the lack of time. The fates decided that yours truly should find a vacuum of time to review the debut album Servus of the Belgian doom metallers Bathsheba and thankfully so, because Servus is spearheading the releases of 2017.
‘Of Fire’, kicks the album off with the tempo that you will hear throughout Servus: dark, immersive and slow. Singer Michelle starts a haunting chant, which combined with the dense riffing, puts the listener in an almost hypnotic state. Even though this element is the basis of the record, Bathsheba is a band with many faces.
For example, on the track ‘Ain Soph’, Bathsheba hits the gas and has an aggressive black metal edge (featuring the harsh vocals of Michelle), which is rounded off with a (very fitting) jazzy saxophone part. ‘Manifest’, a personal favourite and the longest song on the album, journeys through otherwordly atmospheres, groove, rolling drums and a rich guitar solo, that almost allows some hope seeping through the black cloth that Batsheba has woven.
Not to worry, the low, drenching tunes of ‘Demon 13’ are there to cure the listener of that bright feeling just there, combined with malicious vocals. One has to admit that Michelle’s vocals are the type you either love or hate, but the singer undeniably masters many a styles, from growling to doomish chants.
Belgium has given birth a dark child with powers that are just surfacing with the release of Servus. The use of dynamics within a frame of doom, the ominous atmosphere and the skills of each of the musicians make this into to a very strong debut album. The year has just started and there are many a great records to be released this year, but Servus is definitely one of them.
1. Of Fire
2. Ain Soph
4. Demon 13
5. The Sleepless Gods
6. I At The End of Everything