Some music is meant to simply clobber. It’s built with a battering ram aesthetic and rumbles through headphones like some prehistoric, ancient beast, unaware of the true destruction it wields. One fine example of music that simply cold-cocks you from note one is the newest album from New York’s Serpentine Path.
Two years after their debut album, the world still isn’t right for having heard Serpentine Path for the first time. They’re apparently back to finally finish us off with newest release, Emanations. What’s emanating from these seven slabs of Americanized death-doom is pure, liquified evil. It’s the Devil’s own brew, slow cooked over a thousand-year fire, blackened with the annihilation of innocent souls like a waxing moon hanging over a swamp filled with decay and decadence. It’s an album that oscillates and sways like the movement of…you guessed it…a serpent. A very large and deadly serpent.
Labels really don’t do justice to the heaviness of this band. Doom metal, sludge, whatever you want to call it matters not in the long run. Serpentine Path play music meant to bury the listener alive in distortion, rumblings and growls. A track like “Claws” for example, with it’s funeral doom dirge qualities, is the sonic equivalent of all five members standing over your open grave, tossing handfuls of dirt in your face while you lie paralyzed six feet below. Unable to raise even a finger in protest, everything happening in slow motion, the darkness continues to grow as each grain of earth trickles down your cheeks and locks in your hair. It’s a harrowing musical experience to say the least.
The entire album, when used in a semi-meditative state, offers up these types of day dream nightmares. There isn’t a track on this album that doesn’t do it’s absolute best to sonically suffocate you. Upon their formation, the addition of guitarist Tim Bagshaw (ex-Electric Wizard, ex-Ramesses) to three players from Unearthly Trance (including the finely tuned rhythm section) was a stroke of doom metal genius. It’s paying amazing dividends as the Electric Wizard/Ramesses brand of doom is deviously inter-played amongst the influence of two decades of American death-doom. The result, on this album especially, is almost too good to be true. Fans of the genre or the band’s previous efforts should rejoice. A contender for ‘future album of choice to be played during the apocalypse’ has arrived.
Emanations will be released via Relapse Records on May 27. You can check out the track “Disfigured Colossus” over at the Serpentine Path Bandcamp page.