Serpents – “The Brimstone Clergy” EP (War Anthem Records)
Battle Helm Rating
This is the second EP release from this Swedish black metal band, who’ve only been in existence for a couple of years and whose members go by cryptic initials such as ‘S’ (drums), ‘O’ (guitars / bass) and ‘H’ (vocals). That said, the quality of the music, which has an old school touch reminiscent of bands like Marduk and Setherial, along with a bountiful amount of melancholic and dark melodies, works a treat across the six atmospheric tracks here. With clanging metallic guitars, the grim riffs herald the aptness of ‘Bring The Apocalypse’, and as they decadently slide back and forth with a booming bass and hollow snare, ‘H”s red raw vocals add the final touch before the speed run begins, however, it’s all slickly meshed with slower passages to truly allow the evil to fester and permeate your soul. Blasting in on the fretboard sliding madness of ‘Shattered Paradise’, the catchy whirring melodies hook you in instantly as they spiral to spell bounding effect, while ‘H”s haunting screamo ices you to the core as ‘S”s drum stampede threatens to shatter it with every frantic snare beat and cymbal smash – totally intense! In no greater contrast is the acoustic ambiance of ‘Interlude In B Minor’ with its gentle, heart soothing folk melody before the whirring riffs of closer ‘Requiem’ slowly build the grimness once last time and as the deep bass and thwacking snare crack like a whip, ‘H”s frosty drawls add their final touch to the chiming evil as the feedback fades out….it’s nothing short of exquisite.