Sunday 26 April 2015

Shrine of the Serpent - 'Shrine of the Serpent' EP (Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 04/03/2015
Label: Materia Prima Records

‘Shrine Of The Serpent’ CD//DD track listing:

1).  9 Gates Of Shadow
2). King In Red
3). Gods Of Blight

Shrine of the Serpent is:

Todd Janeczek | Guitar, Vocals
John Boyd | Guitar, Vocals
Garret Hubner | Drums


Only the best of the best Doom can create that indefinable feeling of dread and that sinking feeling like no other, heavier than the ton weight squashing wile coyote cloaked in atmosphere, sombre and unceasing. Portland band Aldebaran members alongside Tenspeed Warlock and Roanoke come together for their new project Shrine of the Serpent (SOTS)

Releasing their eponymous, self-titled, three track debut of monstrous death doom to rapturous reception, I have a listen and see what they have to give.

‘9 Gates of Shadow’ is an eerie beginning; spoken words oozing doom and gloom, setting the scene for the heaviest riff you can imagine, blacker than the devils soul. With full blown ferocity it appears and pitches a tent in your lugholes. Hubner’s drum work pounding into the skull and Janeczek’s death metal roaring encapsulating the vibe totally; like a wounded animal in pain he persists. Torturous and unrelenting it churns the stomach and chills the psyche of all those who are brave enough to listen before ending with some atmospheric playback.

‘King In Red’ with a shudder I listen, whiny feedback; atmospheric sound effects hinting at the psychedelic before the aural assault begins. Pure evil, dark and dank in its misery has arrived and by the love of all that is Satan, you know it! The plaintive, melancholic riffs harken back to the sounds of Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass; heavily accented by growling vocals and double-kick drumming for a full on emotional effect. An epic offering of just under 12 minutes, not once does it ease up, never giving the listener time to get bored or to even breathe, it is relentless in its awesomeness.

‘Gods of Blight’ opens up with a female vocal passage to begin with, a gloomy, Edgar Allan Poe style story, supernatural in presentation creating the perfect demonic atmosphere. Riffs cloaked in murkiness and shadow creates that sinking feeling with ease, the despondency in the lyricism palpable. Here as throughout the album, they blend sludge, doom and death metal with bravura making one hell of a tune.  Whilst there is only 3 tracks to this EP, this record keeps to one of the key features of doom metal: the length of songs. Each song is over 8 minutes long, with the longest just under 12, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in quality; all of them have an incredible feel.
Combining death and doom metal does not always work, in this case it does, and fabulously.

‘SOTS’ is a monolith, with Janeczek’s vocals; gut wrenching and raspy, lyrics that are about as death metal as they come- just short of Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth. Spine chilling, buzzing riffs and inordinately heavy drums all working in synchronicity, significantly enhanced with a dark atmosphere that sends shivers, chills and dread coursing through the listener just as it should.

With their ability to mould huge, mean, ugly riffs into mammoth landscapes of sorrow and despair, it is the raging black soulless melody of SOTS that holds the attention, opening portals in the mind to dark imagery and wonderment.

An impressive debut from a band that understands the aural conveyance of tortured souls and mental anguish.

Words by: Kat Hilton

‘Shrine of the Serpent’ is available here

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