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Bathsheba are a Belgian doom metal band formed in 2014 in Genk, Limburg.
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BATHSHEBA Servus album cover 4.15 | 7 ratings
Doom Metal 2017

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BATHSHEBA The Sleepless Gods EP album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Sleepless Gods EP
Doom Metal 2015

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Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
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I first became aware of the vocal talents of Michelle Nocon on the debut album of Belgium doomsters Serpentcult but it was on her collaboration with former Cathedral Guitarist Gaz Jennings in the superior and more traditional metal of Death Penalty that I fully appreciated what a special voice she has. Now her latest band is Bathsheba, marking a return to the more doom infused territory of Serpentcult.

Now I don’t want to take anything away from Serpentcult, whose “Weight Of Light” album showed promise back in 2008. It’s got to be said though “Servus”, the debut album from Bathsheba has a lot more substance and the songs are certainly more memorable. The band lays a solid foundation of sludgy doom for Nocon’s soaring and haunting tones. She deserves a special mention for the quality of her singing and has a rich, powerful voice but occasionally introduces a low growl which doesn’t particularly add anything but as it’s just used for the odd effect it’s not imposing. A powerful organic production certainly helps with the solid as a rock rhythm section of Jelle Stevens and Raf Meukens backing Dwight Goossens compelling ultra-heavy guitar riffs. Whilst much of the time we’re in typical slow doom territory the band don’t restrict themselves as in “Ain Soph” they even use blast beats for some of the song. “Manifest” wisely brings in some light and shade over its ten minutes before the expected explosion into heavier riffing, the song ending with a drawn out guitar solo.

Despite the heaviness on display here there’s also room for melody as evident on much of the material which you don’t have to dig too deep for, “The Sleepless Gods” being a perfect case in point and one of the best songs as it happens. Likewise on album closer “I At The End Of Everything”, another highpoint which feature Nocon’s voice at its most versatile.

“Servus” is a very promising start and I can’t help thinking that better will come from Bathsheba yet. For now though this will more than suffice and is one of the better albums in the doom genre this year.


Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Servus (2017), is the debut full-length album by Belgian doom metal act Bathsheba. The group were formed in 2013 and have previously released a demo (2014) and an EP, The Sleepless Gods (2015). The title track of that EP, which also appeared on the demo, has been carried forward to this full-length debut. The four piece band have a fair background between them within the Belgian metal scene, playing in bands in a range of genres including Death Penalty, Torturerama, Gorath and Serpentcult.

Servus is one of those albums that sticks quite rigidly to its style, which is female voiced doom metal with an occasional lightly blackened touch, mostly in the form of some raspy growled vocals but sometimes also in the music, such as the introduction to Ain Soph, which is quite the raw cacophony and a little more up-tempo than the album's norm. The order of the day is slow, heavy riffs and haunting vocal work, though there are some lighter, more atmospheric sections as well, such as in Manifest. Ain Soph offers up the only real surprise when some saxophone is thrown in. As such, it's a very easy album to get to grips with what it's all about.

While this does mean that Bathsheba's debut isn't the most adventurous or unusual doom metal release out there, even within the current niche of female fronted acts doing the rounds, it does also quickly prove itself to be a very focussed one, which then, as its digested some more, reveals some subtle moments of brilliance, not least the aforementioned saxophone part from Ain Soph, as well as some excellent use of melodic lead guitar on Manifest. Singer Michelle Nocon puts on a hypnotising vocal performance too, delivering her lines like a they're a ritualistic incantation, with both the clean singing and growls skilfully delivered on all six of the album's tracks. It's this level of consistency that really elevates the album up to something that, although it's not groundbreaking, is nevertheless really quite impressive.

Servus is not a perfect debut album for the Belgian doomsters by any means, but it is a solid one that they can be very proud of. I'm excited to hear how they might build on what has been started here. Bathsheba have a very good base sound and have already shown the beginnings of a willingness to experiment. They just need more of that now to really add the wow factor to what they do, something that will set them apart from other similar acts that have made a name for themselves in the last few years.


Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
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MMA Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by Nightfly.

Belgian doom metal act Bathsheba have been around since 2013 and have previously released a demo and an EP. Their first full-length album is 2017's Servus. The band are a female fronted act whose vocalist Michelle Nocon also sings for Death Penalty and previously Serpentcult. Like many in the whole doom with female vocals scene Servus is an album that deals with occult and witchcraft themes. There are quite a few bands like this doing the rounds so how does this one stand out?

Initially, meaning most of the way through the first track Conjuration of Fire, I didn't think the band did at all, though they did establish a heavy, mesmerising charm with their doom riffs quickly enough. Nocon's voice mixed with the fairly fuzzy sounding guitars put me in mind of groups like Jex Thoth or Mount Salem, though unlike them Bathsheba doesn't use any psychedelic elements. Then Michelle Nocon abruptly switched to a growl, which shifted this train of thought entirely. Don't call this death-doom just because it has these extreme elements to it though as there is nothing remotely close to death metal on Servus. It's more like black metal influences if anything, but it isn't quite those either. I like it though.

With the second track Ain Soph the band show off an experimental side by adding in some crazy sounding saxophone work. The album doesn't manage to surprise me quite like that again but does keep showing off more sides to the band such as the long and atmospheric third track Manifest, which features some great lead guitar work from Dwight Goossens during a lengthy instrumental passage that lasts until the end of the song. They save the best for last though with the excellent I at the End of Everything, which I think has some of Michelle Nocon's best singing. It's still got those crushing doom riffs but also a more epic sound to it.

Though my first impression was shaky at best, Bathsheba were quick to win me over with their brand of doom metal. Servus is the kind of album that reminds me that this genre has a lot of good stuff coming out of it that too my shame I tend to largely ignore. I really need to stop doing that.

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