Friday, 19 May 2017

RIFF REWIND (19/5/2014): Serpentine Path - "Emanations"

Serpentine Path circa 2014
“Emanations” was the sophomore album from NYC doom super group SERPENTINE PATH.  The band’s 2012 self-titled debut was a boldly grim statement of unforgiving misanthropy that referenced both the filthy riffs of Autopsy and the stoney doom of Sleep.  Now officially augmented by second guitarist Stephen Flam, the mastermind behind NYC doom/death legends Winter, SERPENTINE PATH were truly a heavy metal all-star team (the band also features current and former members of doom legends Electric Wizard, Unearthly Trance and Ramesses).  Sure, the pedigree is undeniable, but regardless of their ‘members of’ status, SERPENTINE PATH were one of the heaviest bands on the planet.  Although there is no word on the current status of the band, Unearthly Trance reformed and Tim Bagshaw formed With The Dead with former Cathedral front man Lee Dorian.  SERPENTINE PATH released a previously unreleased song called “Venom” on August 26, 2015 which is available via their bandcamp page, but today our focus is on their sophomore release “Emanations” as we rewind the riffs 3 years ago to the day and look back at this masterpiece of doom which was reviewed by Richard Maw on 19/5/2014.

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Release: 23/5/2014
Label: Relapse Records


It is with a great pleasure that I can say Serpentine Path have returned and consolidated the reputation built on the first album. This is an example of the genre done right- the essence of metal is here with all the horror and darkness you could wish for. Gripping and repulsive all at the same time.

“Emanations” CD//DD//LP tracklisting :

1). Essence of Heresy (03:48)
2). House of Worship (04:17)
3). Treacherous Waters (07:46)
4). Claws (07:31)
5). Disfigured Colossus (05:59)
6). Systematic Extinction (07:15)
7). Torment (08:25)

The Review:

Serpentine Path return with their second LP of hate filled doom/death. The band's pedigree (Electric Wizard, Ramesses et al) is well known, so let's cut to the music.

First off, this is destined to be one of the genre's greatest releases this year. It is an excellent record. From “Essence of Heresy” onwards, the record oozes menace and horror. The tempos are slow and the riffs suitably snaking, creeping forward with insistence.

“House of Worship” is slightly quicker with riffs/lead work that recalls the early 90's DM scene. Think Obituary, not Cannibal Corpse, though. “Treacherous Waters” ups the song length and downs the tempo to a crawl. The vocals are brutal, the drums slow, the riffs stellar. There is something very nasty about the vibe of the album- in that regard it carries on the work of the superb self-titled debut. Grim stuff, and compelling to listen to with it- the track has double bass drums, good riffs and progressions and that intangible extra quality of unpleasantness.

“Claws” has a lovely downtrodden and sinister guitar refrain in the intro as the song builds up the sense of dread and paranoia. Again, the deathly vibes are there along with the doom- not as overtly as Hooded Menace, say, but present all the same. This is doom, no doubt, but with a strong injection of the slower elements of death metal as well- and it makes the band unique.

“Disfigured Colossus” brings the band to the latter half of the album and it sounds as the title reads- massive, hulking and ugly. The track fits perfectly as a set up for “Systematic Extinction”. Seven minutes of pitch black darkness. The grooves created are head nodding, to say the least, and the overall effect is of a car crash happening in front of you in slow motion.

“Torment” finishes this doom colossus with well over eight minutes of iron-fisted spite. The song is a good example of what Serpentine Path are all about- unstoppable riffs and rhythms that just keep moving forward, crushing all in their path.

It is with a great pleasure that I can say Serpentine Path have returned and consolidated the reputation built on the first album. This is an example of the genre done right- the essence of metal is here with all the horror and darkness you could wish for. Gripping and repulsive all at the same time.



Band info: Facebook || Bandcamp

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