According to their press release, Delvoid mix the beauty of Sigur Ros with the muscular aggression of Tool. Well, for once a press release actually hits the nail on the head. Serene is full of haunting, ambient melodies provided by organ-like synthesizers and quiet guitar-work, as you can hear on the “Intro” and “Outro” tracks. Those two tracks serve as perfect bookends for a pretty dramatic album that can create in the listener a wide array of moods, ranging from quiet, melancholy introspection, to full on rage. “Cocoon” is probably the best example of the overall vibe; the music begins right where “Intro” left off, gradually building up, adding some Maynard James Keenan-esque vocals along the way, before careening headfirst into a sludgy riff that takes you somewhat by surprise. Much of the album follows this formula, with long instrumental passages of audio ecstasy (at least if you’re a fan of Mogwai or Sigur Ros) followed by shorter bursts of the heavy prog-infused sound that made Tool so famous.
The production is pretty impressive, with smooth transitions between quiet and loud instrumentals; the mixing can get a bit tricky when working with a band with the kind of dynamics that Delvoid create. While I enjoyed most of the record, there were a couple of exceptions; “Steambreather” sounded a little too much like Tool, while the heavy section of “Cocoon” sounded slightly disjointed from the rest of the song. Delvoid are at their best when creating serene melodies, like on “Transient,” but that’s not to say the heavy parts don’t work; “Carrier” mixes the quiet and heavy dynamics extremely well. Still, the bumps on Serene are few and far between, and with just a couple of small tweaks in their transitions, Delvoid could really make a big name for themselves.