Wednesday, 1 March 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: In The Company of Serpents - “Ain-Soph Aur”

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/03/2017
Label: Independent


 “Ain-Soph Aur” is a heavy experience on all levels. The band have dialled back the volume and slowed the tempo from previous releases which has unexpectedly resulted in increased impact. This album is  towering achievement from In The Company Of Serpents. It is a fine addition to an already distinguished discography and an inspiring work that sets the standard for heavy music in 2017.

“Ain-Soph Aur” DD//LP track listing:

1). Middle Pillar
2). Nothingness
3). Crucible
4). Merkabah
5). Limitless Nothingness
6). Limitless Light


The Review:

Denver doom duo In The Company Of Serpents’ new LP “Ain-Soph Aur” is a heavy experience on all levels. The band have dialled back the volume and slowed the tempo from previous releases which has unexpectedly resulted in increased impact. Coupled with some weighty thematic and lyrical content that draws on Qabalah philosophy (“Ain-Soph Aur” means limitless or eternal light) and Jewish mysticism, this album hits hard.

“Middle Pillar” opens the album in punishing fashion, a relentless steamroller that destroys all in its path. This track acts a meeting point between the bands aggressive sludge roots and the grandiose widescreen destruction embraced over the course of this record.  

There are many bands that employ quiet/loud dynamics, maximum reverb usage and crushing doom riffage. In The Company of Serpents employ all of these elements here but their attention to detail and method of delivery have resulted in a completely absorbing and unique sounding record. The fact that this dense, multi-faceted music is the work of only two people is even more mind-boggling and impressive.

The key to this record’s distinct atmosphere is the dark country influence that runs through its veins. On paper, the combination of doom and country doesn’t sound like a winner. However, In The Company Of Serpents recognise the common ground between these two disparate genres and bring them together to create a glorious noise. “Ain-Soph Aur” brings to mind Panopticon’s similarly unlikely black metal/bluegrass classic Kentucky”, particularly during the cold acoustic ballad “Merkabah”.

Crucible” and “Limitless Light” demonstrate the band fully embracing their new sound to create epic, awe-inspiring journeys into uncharted heavy territory. The former is particularly striking when the brooding dustbowl menace of the song’s first half is shattered by an onslaught of devastating sludge. Imagine Earth and Neurosis joining forces to provide the soundtrack for True Detective and you have an idea of the eerie heaviness to be found here.

In The Company Of Serpents’ massive riff explorations are obviously their main strength but the shorter acoustic tracks are just as effective and integral to the flow of the album. The sparse minimalism of “Nothingness” and “Limitless Nothingness” provide periods of bleak calm that are as hypnotic as the explosions of volume that surround. 

“Ain-Soph Aur” is a towering achievement from In The Company Of Serpents. It is a fine addition to an already distinguished discography and an inspiring work that sets the standard for heavy music in 2017.

“Ain-Soph Aur” is available to preorder/buy here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

FFO: Neurosis, Yob, Earth, Scott Kelly

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