ALBUM REVIEW: Smoulder – Violent Creed of Vengeance


Formed in 2013, life has been anything but normal for US/Canadian act Smoulder. With one full-length album under their belts, singer Sarah Ann Kitteringham and guitarist Shon Vincent moved to Finland in 2022, leaving guitarist Collin Wolf, bassist Adam Blake and drummer Kevin Hester behind, but having already written new album Violent Creed of Vengeance (Cruz Del Sur Music).


Inspired by personal experiences during the 2020 pandemic, Sarah Ann had been busy noting Covid-19’s negative impact on society. Many left isolated by the outbreak had become increasingly bitter and cruel, with virtually no online accountability compared to actual social situations. Misogyny and rape culture had grown depressingly prevalent, so set against the band’s familiar backdrop of fantasy and sorcery – and with some particularly pointed lyrics – she decided it was time to address these societal ills.


Kicking things off with doomy, traditional riffing from the school of Grand Magus, the title track boasts some Iron Maiden style guitar melodies and a bass that sits nice and high in the mix. Launching into a faster pace, the pissed off ‘The Talisman and the Blade’ recalls the old US Power Metal scene, coming complete with tyrants, heretics and witches.

‘Midnight in the Mirror World’ combines a mid-paced groove with old-school riffing and features one of Kitteringham’s best vocal performances on the record. ‘Path of Witchery’ possesses another forcefully melodic retro stomp while ‘Victims of Fate’ opens with a guest appearance from author of The Eternal Champion and general fantasy legend Michael Moorcock, going on to cut a swathe of traditional metal destruction for the next seven minutes.


The short sharp shock of ‘Spellforger’ thunders along with fierce intent, Kitteringham really letting loose on this one before the album climaxes with the slow gallop of ‘Dragonslayer’s Doom’. At over ten minutes in length the closer might suffer from being a little overlong, but this is fantasy. No jumping on the eagles to get to Mount Doom here. We’re here for the journey, no matter how long it takes.


As with their debut, the cover art comes courtesy of the legendary Michael Whelan (Cirith Ungol, Sepultura), the striking fantasy illustration suiting the music and subject matter perfectly. A well-crafted slab of traditional molten doom, Violent Creed of Vengeance will be sure to please any mighty sword-wielding champion with a penchant for epic battles and destroying the hordes of evil.

Buy the album here:


7 / 10