November 6, 2017

Serpentrance - The Besieged Sanctum - Review + Full EP Stream.

Serpentrance - The Besieged Sanctum.

Blood Harvest Records.

Review by Trevor Proctor.

Whilst Russia may not be the first country that springs to mind when thinking of underground bands it’s only fair to say the country does have a reasonable number of high quality bands, and one such band is Serpentrance which formed in 2014. The band currently comprises three members who all have significant experience in a number of other underground groups.
Drummer, D.H., currently plays in several bands including Ill Omened and Aborted Fetus and in the past has played for bands such as Pseudogod and Inferius Torment and guitarist and bassist S.D., also currently plays for Ill Omened and previously played for Pseudogod. Vocalist A.M.H. is an individual that fans of the underground should be familiar with – he currently performs vocals for Serpentrance, Sickrites and Vhorthax who recently announced their impending debut release which is set to be released by Iron Bonehead Productions. A.M.H.  is also the immensely talented artist behind Nether Temple Design who has created artwork for a myriad of bands including Morbosidad, Father Befouled, Sacrocurse and Tetragrammacide - just follow this link for an in-depth profile of his art and music which The Lair of Filth featured earlier this year.

To date Serpentrance may have slipped under your radar as they have only one previous release, ‘The Besieged Sanctum’ which was released in a limited quantity of 200 copies on cassette by Vault of Dried Bones in February 2015. 
Whilst ‘The Besieged Sanctum’ is still available on digital formats this cassette edition was criminally the only physical release this excellent EP ever received. Thankfully this is now to be corrected as Blood Harvest Records is set to bring us CD and vinyl editions on the 10th November. The original cassette tape release of  ‘The Besieged Sanctum’ featured a total of four tracks across twenty five minutes but these newer versions will feature an exclusive track, ‘The Funeral Mass of the Abhorrent,’ which extends the duration of the EP by a further five minutes. Backing vocals on 'The Funeral Mass of the Abhorrent'  were provided by Inkantator Koura. (Mosaic, ex. Alchemyst)
All music and lyrics are by Serpentrance with the exception of track three, ‘Amongst the Timeless Tombs’ which features a vocal by Blckprst from Abhorrot. When ‘The Besieged Sanctum’ was originally written and released the band comprised a fourth member, L.K. The Serpentrance logo was designed by Horth who is a current member of Goatpsalm and Sickrites and has designed artwork for a number of bands including Ill Omen and Sickrites. The EP was mixed and mastered by guitarist and bassist S.F., and vocalist A.M.H. created the cover artwork for ‘The Besieged Sanctum.’

Serpentrance tend to vary the pace between an extremely measured doom-like pace to higher speed Death Metal and track one, ‘Obeisance to the Antiquity of Sin’ succinctly illustrates their variance between these extremes. The track starts proceedings by keeping the pace ominously slow for most of its six minute duration, before lifting significantly in the blink of an eye mid-way. Serpentrance keep this faster paced Death Metal gait for a few minutes before dropping back to their initial dirge like pace at the track’s conclusion. 
Serpentrance creates a malevolent atmosphere throughout the EP, especially during the slower sections, an atmosphere that completely immerses you in their demonic hell. The vocal delivery from A.M.H.  is fantastic and lends itself exceptionally well to the music, no matter what pace the music adopts his vocal seethes with hate and menace, sounding like a demon dragged from slumber in the pits of Hell and casting an authoritative and evil shadow over the music.

 ‘The Besieged Sanctum’ brings us some exceptional trance-inducing black/death magic across its duration, sounding ritualistic at times and constantly keeping a tight grip on your attention. The EP was perfectly summed up by the press release that stated, “Serpentrance create a swirling, sulfurous maelstrom of ritualistic black/death trance. Both seemingly improvised and militantly martial, ‘The Besieged Sanctum’ heaves its hulking mass in a deceptively doomed manner: always a sense of vertigo engulfs the listener, no matter the tempo - from sub-atomic crawl to blastbeaten bestiality - and textures bleed in and out like a lingering fog.” 
With the EP available to stream in full below there’s no need for further description, just give it a listen and immerse yourself in some exceptional music that you’ll return to many times. 

An exceptional EP - it would be criminal to miss it this time round. 9/10.

01 - Sin
02 - The Aphotic Temples
03 - Among the Timeless Tombs
04 - The Tongueless Oracle
05 - The Funeral Mass of the Abhorrent.

'The Besieged Sanctum' by Serpentrance will be available on CD and vinyl via Blood Harvest Records from the 10th of November and can be pre-ordered by following this link.

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