Thursday, September 13, 2012

Serpentine Path: Serpentine Path (2012)

Earthly Trance

The bad news: Unearthly Trance has disbanded. The good news: They’re actually still together, operating under a new name with an expanded lineup (including Tim Bagshaw of Ramesses/ex-Electric Wizard renown).

Other bands have expanded their lineups in the past, adding members and making their sound more complex, and haven’t bothered to change names. But it’s fitting that Serpentine Path has been released under a new moniker, because the music is quite different from anything Unearthly Trance has ever done. But still quite good.

Unearthly Trance was a highly unusual band. They played music that achieved atmosphere through a combination of trance-inducing riffs, weird dissonant leads, excellent use of negative space, and lots of reverb. Serpentine Path is much more traditional. While they’ve kept the reverb, they’ve ditched almost every avant- tendency of the former band. The music is much more traditional death/doom, the dissonance and negative space kept to a minimum and the vocals taking the form of pure cookie monster.

While many musicians find themselves expanding their horizons and exploring new territory as they age, at least an equal number find themselves pining for a simpler time. Both paths can be satisfying, and this one is reliable. They have captured the tried-and-true sound quite well. Their best riffs seem to coil and uncoil like their namesake (“Crotalus Horridus Horridus” and “Bats Amongst Heathens”), and the leads, where they have them (“Obsoletion”), are compelling.

When they’re good, they’re really good. But some of this is filler, or less fleshed-out than it should be (opener “Arrows”). As good as it is, it could be much better. More leads, better riffs, more variation. But if you turn it up really loud, none of that matters. It’s not going to disappoint.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Buy Serpentine Path

1 comment:

  1. While it is admittedly not particularly groundbreaking, I really really enjoyed this album.