Posts Tagged ‘Shrine of the Serpent’

Shrine of the Serpent first lurked upon my radar with their awesome self titled EP in 2015. They’ve returned with a new split cassette with Black Urn, a band I have had no prior knowledge of but will definitely be tracking after this. The split is over 30 minutes of harrowing death/doom, with each band contributing two tracks each. It is available now through Bandcamp.

Opening with Shrine of the Serpent’s ‘Desecrated Tomb’, which is brutally heavy and slow. Like the heaving of tectonic plates, Shrine of the Serpent immediately reintroduce themselves as one of the heaviest outfits on the planet. Guttural roars compliment dragging riffs, all suffocating under a leaden atmosphere. ‘Catacombs of Flesh’ is just about as unbearably heavy, pushing down upon you with terrible, devastating darkness.

Black Urn’s side of the split crushes with the morbid crawl of ‘My Strength Lies on Heavenless Plains’, which builds from murky depths into a black metal influenced tremolo roar. Thunderous, molten riffs pour from aching speakers while tortured screams yearn for freedom. It is staggeringly heavy, and sets a new watermark for the music here. They close us down with the AIC Cover, ‘Junkhead’, which injects an entirely new menace into the grunge classic.

Probably one of the best splits I’ve come across in recent memory, both Shrine of the Serpent and Black Urn have really hit it out of the park on this one. Find a copy of it soon before they all disappear!

https://shrineoftheserpent.bandcamp.com/album/shrine-of-the-serpent-black-urn-split

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/split-2

https://www.facebook.com/blackurn/

https://www.facebook.com/ShrineoftheSerpent/

I love doom. 2015’s doom has been in some places, magnificent. It is the most primal and emotional subgenre; the closest to the progenitor riffs of Iommi and ghostly wail of Ozzy. There has been some triumphs this year in this genre, and here are the Killchain top 10. It contains some of the same albums I put forward to the Sleeping Shaman as my top ten, but some have changed.

10. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – The Night Creeper: A last minute addition to the list, where the Deadbeats swoop in to amaze with their groove ridden psychedelic doom. The journey continues deeper into the bowels of doom

9. A Dream of Poe – An Infinity Emerged: An album designed to wring pure emotion from you in every way. Crooning vocals, mourning riffs and a creaking atmosphere builds into one of the gloomiest pieces of gothic doom art this year. Affecting in the most primal way.

8. Thorr-Axe – The Gates of Winter: Another masterpiece of riffing, a crushing swing of the doom sword to smote the enemies below. Thorr-Axe blend some hardcore tinges into their swelling post metal/doom mix, and the result is a heady album of bludgeon and glacial power.

7. Paradise Lost – A Plague Within: Yorkshire doom masters bring the heavy, the gothic melancholy, and just about everything else in their arsenal to create a monolithic slab of deathly doom majesty. Another prime example of how the golden oldies never fail to amaze or deliver.

6. Pentagram – Curious Volume: A triumphant return for one of doom’s legends. ‘Curious Volume’ sees Pentagram regain their place as one of doom’s figureheads with swaggering groove, achingly heavy riffs and Liebling’s soulful croon sounding better than it has in years. Don’t close the casket on them yet…

5. Shrine of the Serpent – Shrine of the Serpent: A pure evilness abounds in this three track crushing death/doom from these US newcomers. This is the sound of misery crushing you into nothing, with a fetid stench of death about every riff and every vomited incantation. Doomed to destroy

4. High on Fire: Luminiferous: RIFFS! That’s pretty much the whole modus operandi for High on Fire, and ‘Luminiferous’ delivers a metric fuckton of riffs. Matt Pike and co have always possessed this primal power in voice, riff and drum, and ‘Luminiferous’ may be their most definite statement yet.

3. Lucifer – Lucifer I: The sultry, smoky occult doom stylings of Lucifer bring me back to the feelings of joy last year when I encountered Mount Salem for the first time. The groove and the simple beauty of each riff is hypnotic, while the vocal hooks keep you from wandering. Stunning.

2. Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower: The band you rely on to fill Electric Wizard’s space when they’re off watching horror movies and smoking weed. Windhand have an uncanny knack of writing these dense, monolithic riffs that rumble through your very bones. Psychedelic groove that drags you to the void

1.Undersmile – Anhedonia: The scorching primal beauty of ‘Anhedonia’ is clear for everyone to see. Balancing heft with glacial beauty, melancholy with crushing power of riff, Undersmile’s 2015 effort was one of the finest records in any genre I got this year.

Portland, Oregon’s wretched death doom horde Shrine of the Serpent have released unto us, the unwitting public, three debut utterances from the void. Thirty minutes of torturous misery awaits you, if you dare….

Opener ‘Nine Gates of Shadow’ preys upon your mind from the start. An ominous hum arises from your speakers, with a low incantation before a devastating riff drops on you like a hammer from hell. This is thunderously heavy, and gives sound to the dreadful end of mankind. This is some serious death/doom here, with the term ‘death’ more appropriate than in most. Most death/doom is slow doom with guttural growls. Shrine of the Serpent have infused their particular brand with the fetid stench of actual death, rather than just utilising it as a vocal style.

Try listening to the tectonic groan of ‘King in Red’ without feeling crushed under the weight of your own pathetic misery. Shrine of the Serpent have absorbed lessons from the greats in order to make this monolithic testament to decay and destruction. There’s dashes of old Paradise Lost and of course, the torturous grind of Winter’s ‘Into Darkness’. ‘Gods of Blight’ ends with a swaying, seasickness inducing groove that inspires slow motion headbanging and knees buckling under the weight of each riff.

Shrine of the Serpent’s riff mangling approximation of death/doom is, quite frankly, brilliant. It is rare that I will go ahead and orderĀ  copy of something I’m only haflway through reviewing, but boys you did it. I fucking love this, and you should too.

LISTEN: https://shrineoftheserpent.bandcamp.com/releases
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