By Nathanas Trismegistus
Serpent Noir – Death Clan OD; released February 2, 2020 by World Terror Committee. As I’ve mentioned many times before, you can expect two things from any W. T. C. release: that it is occult black metal (or an Absurd or G. B. K. rerelease, seriously, how do they get away with that living in Germany?) and that it will be excruciatingly difficult, or will take an exorbitant amount of time, to obtain a copy in the U. S.
I’m not really sure what the “OD” in the title is supposed to represent. Perhaps “Ordo Diaboli”? I don’t know. Regardless, Serpent Noir is a trio hailing from Athens, the resplendent capital of Greece. Though, not of the spiritual successors to classic Hellenic black metal (e.g., the previously-recognized on this glorified blog, Empire of the Moon). Like their fellow Athenians, Acherontas and Acrimonious (both great bands I suggest you check out immediately), Serpent Noir create music more analogous to the Swedish and, more modern, Greek occult scene than the likes of Necromantia or Rotting Christ. But, they’re far from your typical occult black metal. Their approach is, in a word, lateral. Though their music is full of arpeggiated, dissonant chords; trem-picked, Phrygian melodies; somber, Apollonian leads; and aggressive double blast beats—the way they implement these components is incredibly fascinating, unique, and creative. Their lyrical content is also subject for an entirely different conversation.
Personally, I thought the opener was a waste of effort. A very simple “anti-melody” played over a broken suspended chord. Track 2, “Cutting the Umbilical Cord of Hel”, however, is really where the album kicks off into volcanic fury. Track 3 has a nice, classic feel towards the beginning, which gradually devolves into a sinister, serpentine Gordian knot of complexity. Track 4, “Asmodeus: The Sword of Golachab”, while an interesting name and subject matter, I thought it was the weakest track. It has a strange break close to the end which stopped the momentum (of the song, not the album) dead in its tracks. Unfortunate. Track 5, “Astaroth: The Jaws of Gha’Agsheblah”, has an inimitably creepy tone which one must behold to believe. Track 6, “Necrobiological Chant of Talas”, also had an interesting tone and phenomenal leadwork. The final track, “GOEH RA REAH: Garm Unchained” is probably the best, most varied song on the album; though, I think track 6 is my favorite. It got its very own, insane music video which gave me some serious O9A vibes. The album is decidedly brisk, but not so short that you’ll feel like you’ve been robbed of the $12 street price. I thought it was very well paced except, maybe, the aforementioned track 4.
I don’t want to get hung up on production quality, so I’ll only say, briefly, that it sounded fine, if not – at times – a bit shallow, thin, and dry (at least on the digital, Bandcamp format I heard). Everything sounded good and was clear and audible, so no real complaints.
This album is the music of the sacrificial blood slowly filling the channels of an altar of impossible geometrical parameters. I’ll just have to add this to the copious backlog of good W. T. C. releases that I have yet to obtain. I had listened to their previous album, Erotomysticism (2015) and I’m pretty sure I caught a track or two off their 2012 debut. From what I can remember, I did like them, but not enough to buy them. Death Clan OD, on the other hand, I will definitely buy when I see it hit U. S. record stores. I’m not so enthusiastic about this album that I would go straight ahead and order a copy and have it imported straight from Germany. It’s better than average occult black metal. Though that may seem like faint praise, Serpent Noir indelibly stand with their heads high above a sea of monotony. I still, nevertheless, think Acherontas remains as the exemplar for this sub-sub-genre (and Greece’s contribution to it). I would recommend it, purely for its originality, to anyone; but, perhaps, wouldn’t deem it essential to anyone save the rabid hordes of occult black metal.
Listen, buy here: https://wtcproductions.bandcamp.com/album/death-clan-od