Album Review – Serpentrance / Akra Tapeinosis (2021)

This infernal Russian Sepulchral Death Metal horde comes ripping with their debut full-length opus, offering us all their raw and vile view of “the Utmost Humiliation”.

3.5rating

serpentrance-akra-tapeinosis-2021Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist Spīritō Destitutus in the desolate temples of doom, and displaying a beyond blasphemous artwork by the band’s own vocalist Morkh at Nether Temple Design, the excellent Akra Tapeinosis (or “the Utmost Humiliation”), is not only the debut full-length opus by Russian horde Serpentrance and the follow-up to their 2015 EP The Besieged Sanctum, but also a lesson in Black, Death and Doom Metal by this uncanny entity, or as the band itself likes to label their own sound, a fulminating exhibit of “Sepulchral Death Metal”. Formed in 2014, the band currently comprised of the aforementioned Morkh and Spīritō Destitutus together with bassist HTM and drummer Noersyl Skept is ready to darken the hearts of the unbelievers with their unique style and otherworldly sounds, proving once again why Russia is the go-to place for the most disturbing forms of extreme music you can think of.

Gregorian vociferations permeate the air in the Stygian opening tune Vomit & Myrrh, exploding into a primeval fusion of Black and Doom Metal that will haunt the souls of the lighthearted where Morkh sounds like a creature from the underworld on vocals, while Noersyl Skept hammers his drums in great fashion; followed by Clothed in Abomination, with its darkly poetic words (“Cathedrals howling in awe / The old woman of apocalypse awakes / To feed the hunger of the devoted ones / By the coffins of the blessed tree”) being beautifully complemented by a raw, sluggish sonority. Furthermore, the riffs by Spīritō Destitutus exhale pure sulfur, supported by the menacing bass by HTM in an ode to Blackened Doom. And Spīritō Destitutus keeps slashing his stringed axe with tons of hatred and obscurity in The Tarnished Shrines of God, another venomous tune by Serpentrance where the deep guttural growling by Morkh will penetrate deep inside your psyche and drag you into pitch black darkness for all eternity.

After such intense and bold display of damnation and hatred, get ready for over 11 minutes of a demented hybrid of Black, Death and Doom Metal by the quartet spearheaded by the demonic riffage by Spīritō Destitutus and the thunderous drums by Noersyl Skept entitled Underneath Babylon, not to mention how vile Morkh’s roars sound and feel in a lecture in sheer doom for admirers of the most sulfurous side of music. And last but not least, we’re treated to the superb The Black Dawn of Sophia, offering our avid ears one final round of Serpentrance’s wicked lyrics (“Man, hast thou felt the rising winds of death / Howling among these ancient marble walls? / There, below, crawling the procession / Groveling beneath the corroding sun”) to close the album on a high and infernal note. Put differently, it’s a flawless, neck-breaking aria that positions the band as one of the most interesting names of the Russian underground scene, ending the album on an absolutely cadaverous vibe.

serpentrance-2021If you think you can endure sheer darkness in the form of the Sepulchral Death Metal blasted by Serpentrance, you can stream the full album on YouTube, and in case you survive that metallic onslaught you can join Serpentrance’s horde by following them on Facebook and getting to know more about the band, their tour dates and their plans for the future. And above all that, of course, don’t forget to purchase a copy of Akra Tapeinosis from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore in CD, LP or cassette formats, showing your true love and admiration for sick and impious doom. Serpentrance are just starting in their grim and sulfurous career, and Akra Tapeinosis is the undisputed statement that they’re indeed following the right (and by that I mean infernal) path to conquer the world of extreme music in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Vomit & Myrrh and The Black Dawn of Sophia.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing  
1. Vomit & Myrrh 7:34
2. Clothed in Abomination 7:38
3. The Tarnished Shrines of God 7:14
4. Underneath Babylon 11:35
5. The Black Dawn of Sophia 9:10

Band members
Morkh – vocals
Spīritō Destitutus – guitars
HTM – bass
Noersyl Skept – drums

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