Not that the world has never heard this mixture of Black Metal, Sludge and Crust; or the swirling guitars and the blastbeats overwhelmed by infernal shrieking and gut-breaking growls at the same time. The guitars deliver more than solid riffing and shredding, play with brilliant scales to shoot through the noise in order to deliver more chaos in this storm of abysmal-ness. The rhythm section is a steady source of deep-toned slow-grooving black currents in a river flowing in a cave deep beneath the surface. It is hard to imagine any metal fan not being blown away by the moody intro to “Ten Floors Down” and impressed by the musical precision afterwards.
There is something about Serpent Eater’s hurricane of sound and chaos. It is the notion of being pulled up by the hair on you arms and simultaneously being drawn by the ankles. It is as if there were two melodies in some songs, one winding upward with the guitar lines, a totally different one going downward with the bass lines. This ambiguity is most on display when the band takes a deep breath and allows for one of the small spaces for the listener to gather his senses without getting his head beaten on the wall. Even if there is only a short change of the guitar lines, for example in “Dead Spiritualist Remains Silent”: when the guitar calms down and the stormy blastbeats step back after roughly 85 seconds in and the song has more air to breathe. From there on, the song loses speed but picks up atmosphere simultaneously. The same goes for the ending of the last song “Dunkelziffer” with its ascent upwards towards a tiny pinch of hopeful morning light shining through the keyhole in the door at the end of the stairs leading from the peaceful outside down into a thunderous darkness.
Serpent Eater is surely not the first blackened sludge or blackened crust band, but the ones that will follow after them surely better give this record a listen as it definitely is state of the art for a genre that embraces those tiny bits of light you see when looking up from right beneath the eye of the hurricane.