Wednesday 30 October 2013

Vinyl Corner: In the Company of Serpents - Of The Flock (Album Review)

Brown Notes & Scratchy Throat: Grant Netzorg
Skins: Joseph Weller Myer
JJ Anselmi: Black priest, Shaman and former skinsman

Bio: In the Company of Serpents are a doom/sludge two-piece from Denver, Colorado. Founded in early 2011, the band came into being when vocalist/guitarist Grant Netzorg met drummer JJ Anselmi at a show their former bands were playing. JJ has since left the band on amicable terms, and Joseph Weller Myer is slaying the skins in his stead.


We didn't dare look away. None of us. We waited patiently, hopefully, all huddled together in small clusters scattered across the barren valley at the base of the Great Mountain. Our ancestors told us of this place. They have a name for it, spoken only in whispers. Loosely translated it means, In The Company Of Serpents. From the highest peak, when the sun is high above, you can make out the rivers, creeks and streams below, appearing as giant intertwined and glistening snakes along the valley floor.

In early September tribal Elders sent 2 warriors to climb the mountain and seek out the sacred medicine tablets which could save our people and change our world. But the warriors didn't return until late October. Many of our sickest and youngest were lost.

 "There they are!" someone screamed and pointed toward a small tree on the steepest side. Straining to peer through the thick, acrid smoke surrounding the jagged mountain cliffs, I agreed, noticing two shadowy figures ambling slowly toward us. It was them. As they got closer, two thing were immediately visible: they were injured but still carrying something in their arms.

I don't know how. Joseph was barefoot and his hands were badly damaged, all of his fingers and knuckles bloodied and battered. The expression on his face was somewhere between that of determination, bliss and horror. Grant's left hand was just as bad. The tips of his fingers had been rendered throbbing, puss-filled blisters yet he showed no pain. They smiled as they approached.

The tribe went wild. All of us. Grant and Joseph's arms were filled with stacks of medicine for their people. They had done it. Together, each raising one of the sacred hand-sealed tablets above his head, they yelled, "OF THE FLOCK!"

And it was good.

Take one look at their Bandcamp page and you'll plainly see how I feel about this two-piece and their new record. I kinda yell it from the rooftops. "Their vinyl debut will be amazing," I say, right below the artwork. I'm a fucking psychic. Much like a Sabbath record, there are plenty of moments here that one could call 'beautiful', in addition to those of utter destruction.

"Ash Swamp" is a minute-long acoustic intro preceding the groove-filled, powerful "Craven" which I think has a strong Down or C.O.C. vibe to it. With whiskey-soaked vocals, "Blood from Stone" is much slower sludge-filled doom, building with intensity as each minute passes. To my ears, the title track has a somewhat southern feel to it and could be the most intense, bring-it-on-home song on the album.
"United/Culling Essence From The Void" ends abruptly after nearly 8 minutes of punishment and one word comes out of my mouth: 'Woah.'

Yep, it's that good.

Hit the stream below. Listen and love. Then get their self-released limited vinyl.

Support the underground.