Servant - Blessed By The Light Of A Thousand Stars

Upon first glance, the debut from Germaný’s Servant might seem like one’s typical black metal- corpsepainted players that perform raw, cold black metal with an occult flair akin to the likes of Judas Iscariot or overly soaked symphonics like Carach Angren. However, after hearing the opening of ‘Negate the I’ one is certainly in for a surprise. While the basic black metal elements are there with melodic tremolo picking and shrieking vocals with extreme drumming, the slow, to mid paced tone with variation of vocals between rough singing and snarls and the rather groovy to melodic moments from the guitars show that this band is more than the atypical black metal group. Drawing on influences like Dark Fortress and Dimmu Borgir with throaty, yet clear vocals, Old Man’s Child inspired riffs, and lightly sprinkled symphonics with the cold chill of some of the riffing of the likes of more kvlt black metal such as Sargeist, the mix here is pretty solid to please almost any black metal fan from any of the sub genres. The vocals might take some getting used to- especially the cleaner ones- but they add more depth to the music. Other tracks like ‘Death Meditation’ offer a more groove laden pace with a focus on the solos. ‘The Ultimate Occult Worship’ has some very quiet passages to give a break from the rather plodding tone and allow the symphonic elements like the violin to be heard more clearly, despite how brief it is.

‘Foreshadowing Rite’ serves as a nice break with the acoustic interlude, and while a bit different from what has been heard so far, adds to the occult atmosphere and variety of Servant. ‘Hymn to the Last Days’ is probably one of the more straightforward black metal tracks with the pace and guitar tones, but the vocals try to keep things varied with the shrieks and singing. ‘Incantation of the Old Ones’ has some excellent drumming and more melodic riffs, but less clean vocals and more of a black metal shriek ferocity. While ‘Destruction and Recreation’ has excellent groove, it tends to fall flat compared to the other tracks with the lack of variety in the vocals and pace, but at the same time serves as the catchiest. ‘Ecclesia Obscuri’ brings things back into the fold with chiming bells, a hypnotic pace, and overall an excellent occult feel that suits the tone of the album. Finally there is the title track which slowly carries itself along with faint choirs in the back, a very epic feel, and just a more regular mid paced black metal piece similar to what was heard earlier on the album.

Overall, this collection is a solid group with plenty of variation between tracks that each one stands out on their own. For a debut album Servant should be proud that they have crafted something that is beyond the typical norm of what one might expect from black metal. It is dark, but not overly Satanic dark. It is melodic, but not Disney melodic. Just the right amount of dark and light to come together for some introspective black metal.

4 / 5 STARS

1. Negate The I
2. Death Meditation
3. The Ultimate Occult Worship
4. Foreshadowing Rite
5. Hymn To The Latest Days
6. Incantation Of The Old Ones
7. Destruction And Recreation
8. Ecclesia Obscuri
9. Blessed By The Light Of A Thousand Stars