Saturday, 2 May 2015

GALVANO - Trail Of The Serpent (Album Review)

Trail Of The Serpent cover art

Album Type: EP
Date Released: May 25th 2015
Label: Candlelight Records

Trail Of The Serpent - Track Listing:

1.The Gathering
2.Following the Trail
3.Stench Of Prey
4.Driven Snow


Mattias Nööjd - Guitars/Vocals
Fredrik Käll – Drums


From the deepest, nastiest recesses of Gothenburg comes crushing Swedish sludge duo Galvano. Now comprising Mattias Nööjd (guitars/vocals) and Fredrik Käll (drums), Galvano originally started out as a three-piece in 2005. Within two years a demo was released and live shows played.

Galvano embarked on their first mini tour in 2010 visiting Denmark and a set of German cities. That same year the band were asked to feature on a split so they went into the studio and recorded the epic single “The Librarian” which was mixed and mastered by the legendary Billy Anderson (Orange Goblin, Cathedral, Eyehategod). This was released as a 10” in 2011 on SM Musik from Leipzig, Germany. The release was then followed up by a full European tour.

After this tour the band said goodbye to their fourth bass player and decided to move on as a duo. Early in 2012 they teamed up with UK based label Devouter Records for the release of their debut full-length album “Two Titans”. The album was released on December 5th and was very well received by both fans and media.

Since then the band has played over 35 shows during several European tours including UK and Ireland and are confirmed to play this year’s Desertfest in Camden, London.


One spin of “Trail of the Serpent” was enough to add Galvano to my list of reasons (alongside Floor, Minsk and Black Cobra) why I should have gone to Desertfest last weekend. In recent times I’ve come to associate heavy bands from Sweden with the retro psyche and doom stylings of Witchcraft and Graveyard but this Gothenburg duo firmly shattered my preconceptions.

Right from the very start of opener “The Gathering”, Galvano let you know what the next 40 minutes is going to be about: a relentless onslaught of weapons-grade riffage. “Trail of the Serpent” consists of four weighty slabs of monolithic riffcraft that bring to mind all that is great in the world of sludge and doom. Imagine High on Fire at their most frenzied, squeezing their entire back catalogue into one album and you wouldn’t be far off the rich tapestry that Galvano weave here. There are also elements of Mastodon’s “Remission” glory days and the progressive crunch of early Baroness Eps.

The number of moments of quiet during this album can be counted on one hand. There are passages of gentle plucked calm reminiscent of Yob in “Following the Trail” and “Stench of Prey” but these merely act as the briefest of palate cleansers before the band roar back into full gear. While volume and distortion is very much to the fore throughout “Trail of the Serpent”, and the torrent of riffs never lets up, it is to Galvano’s credit that this album is always engaging. Each track traverses a number of different moods, tempo changes and subtle dynamic shifts so there is still a sense of light and shade even when everything is turned up to 11. The band also manage to avoid falling into the trap of writing long songs that sound like a number of unrelated ideas strung together under the guise of being progressive.

Everything here melds together perfectly with sections reoccurring and developing as the tracks surge forward.

This is a fine effort from Galvano that has got me kicking myself that I wasn’t aware of them sooner following their “Two Titans” debut back in 2012. Here’s hoping they make it back to the UK soon so that I can make up for lost time and experience this ferocious beast in the live arena.

Words by Charlie Butler

Thanks To Candlelight Records and GALVANO for the album promo. Trail Of The Serpent will be released on CD/DD from Candlelight Records from May 25th 2015. Vinyl Version will be released by PelagicRecords from June/July 2015.

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