In the last days of last year, USA Black Metal act Serpentshrine released their EP; Occultum Exordium. With Besetting the Altar at the beginning of 2017 being their first release to the world, Occultum Exordium is sure to be a release that many have patiently waited for, the time has come then so let’s take a look at what Serpentshrine have come up with.
4 tracks spanning just over 16 minutes of musical mysticism that should not be ignored in our communities…
Occultum Exordium kicks off with “In the Shadows of Golgotha”, a mid-paced look at Black Metal through a traditional lens. Perhaps not setting out to – but still giving us the sense of the 1990’s heydays of Scandinavia. Noteworthy drum segments by Emperor Trøllkömmåndër aplenty, seemingly gluing it all together with a slower than usual pace but the complexities make sure it’s brilliantly executed. Guitarist Conqueror Coughinwraught switches frequently between the chugging of older metal styles and the chainsaw picking that creates a wall of noise we can all enjoy. Synth passages leak in an out, basic but haunting. A strong start in the instrument department and one which vocalist Archmage Nerkrokrux keeps up with in a style that is raspy, gritty and dirty. A strong start.
This musical attitude is kept up throughout Occultum Exordium and once we get to track 4, Engulfing the Sepulchre we are hit with an intro; a crackling fire and panicking, crying female. Satan himself appears and eventually, laughs… A little cheesy but I’d hazard a guess that Serpentshrine are just a little tongue in cheek. That’s all good in my opinion.
As for the production, mastering and mixing work, Serpentshrine have gone down the low-fi path and have found ‘their’ sound as a result. All instruments can be heard easily and even the more complex guitar riffs are given space to breathe. Put this alongside the album art which is very much in keeping with the genre (and a personal thing here but my favourite colour is purple) Serpentshrine = win!
A question for the band, if they ever read this… when is the Occultum Exordium T-shirt available please? I’m sure that T-shirt would sell well with this artwork on it.
Apparently there is a full length by Serpentshrine to be released in 2019 and so, as is usual, I recommend a visit to Bandcamp, the home of all good music. Support the band for what I’d call a very worth cost and if you have the inclination, check them out on social media too where you’ll find updates about the next release – Facebook.