The Wandering Midget - The Serpent Coven
Eyes Like Snow
Traditional Doom Metal
6 songs (54'22")
Release year: 2008
The Wandering Midget, Eyes Like Snow
Reviewed by Alex

I asked for it in my previous review of The Wandering Midget debut MCD and I stand corrected. Somewhere deep inside I had inkling that the band’s moniker was a reference to a song or an album, but somehow failed to place it. A year gone by and re-reading the band’s bio rang the bell loud and clear. The name was chosen from Reverend Bizarre’s The Wandering Jew, with Midget selected rather randomly after that, and squarely tongue-in-cheek, which seems to be the essence of The Wandering Midget style – classic traditional doom, paying homage to the genre originators, with an equal touch of stoner and prog, with wink-eye humor playing not the last role in the band’s life.

On The Serpent Coven the Finns continue the theme further, exploring what I can only term as a storytelling side of doom. It is absolutely true that you need patience and multiple listens to grasp the songs, but if invested, you will appreciate the more disciplined approach The Wandering Midget now demonstrates on the album’s two longest tracks Taynia and Family Curse, including the movie sampler melody on the latter. Distinct and multiple parts to these songs, the band wraps them into logical complete structures, repeating the sections when necessary, all complemented with thoughtful lyrics. Melodic opening (Family Curse), hummable (Taynia) or crushing riffs (The Thing from the Black Reef), with the good helping of bass in the case of the latter, the stories are always unfolding slowly but steadily.

The sound of The Serpent Coven is still warm and analog, but the production hiccups from the debut MCD are largely gone. The most important feature of the traditional doom sound, however, was left intact. You can reach out and touch the veil of fuzz thrown plentifully over this woven riff tapestry with your hands. It is so thick, you would need the axe to cut it with. As The Wandering Midget are hailing from Finland, the references to Reverend Bizarre are very appropriate. And although I would not quite say that the masters need to move over, it is certain that thou torch has worthy disciples to be handed over to. As much as the riffs fall at the measurable rate, the drums on this record are anything but static, Jonathan Sprenger providing punctuation in the plot via numerous drum rolls. And whenever one decides that the band becomes a little tedious going through the canons of the distorted doom (Bring Forth the Accused), The Wandering Midget all of a sudden unleashes the most involved blues/progressive/jazzy instrumental section on the album, only to close with the stoned out, trippy, acid induced, hallucinogenic title track. The narrator of this account, Samuel Wormius, still has that clean, tear-trembling, just about to tear voice, which I previously compared with Johan Langquist, Candlemass, and I stand by my comparison.

The progress evident, The Wandering Midget has my best wishes for getting their name out in the Finnish doom scene, to begin with, anyway, with wider recognition hopefully following not far behind.

Killing Songs :
Taynia, Family Curse, The Serpent Coven
Alex quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by The Wandering Midget that we have reviewed:
The Wandering Midget - I Am The Gate reviewed by Alex and quoted 71 / 100
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