Beyond the dawn of time...
Consisting of all three members of Unearthly Trance plus Tim Bagshaw from Ramesses and Electric Wizard, Serpentine Path is a band that should, almost per se be of interest to fans of doom metal. Also, although a relatively new band, Serpentine Path's members are, needless to say, doom metal veterans which, of course, gives rise to quite high expectations from the seasoned doom metal listener.
The question is, are those expectations fulfilled? Well, I would say so. The tempos are relatively heavy and evolve around crushingly heavy riffs performed on fuzzy downtuned guitars. The music is a bit on the sludgy side, often making use of sparse and, at times, minimalistic textures. Serpentine Path do, however, show several times that they definitely know how to deliver some very convincing doom metal riffage – complete with harmonic guitars and the whole kit and kaboodle – which works well in conjunction with the sludgy riffage that oozes from the loudspeakers when this album is on the stereo. Just check the closing track 'Only a Monolith Remains', which is an all out classic doom metal attack.
The lyrics are harsh and sound more like something you would encounter in primitive death metal, but in this case, I do not mind the growled vocals, because they actually fit neatly into the brutal crunch of the guitars and the crushingly heavy sludge riffs that are ubiquituous on this album. The vocals should, of course, also be a factor in attracting fans of death-doom to the album, although it is a far cry from the death-doom of the 90s that converted many death metal fans into doom lovers.
Overall, Serpentine Path's debut is a very convincing slab of sludge-doom which definitely should fullfil whatever expectations fans of Ramesses, Unearthly Trance and Electric Wizard might have. Fans of doom metal in general are also likely to enjoy the crushingly heavy and brutal riffage on this album. Just go check it out and welcomest thy doom.
(review originally posted at seaoftranquility.org)