(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Serpent of Gnosis, which was released by 1126 Records on June 14th.)
Let’s be honest, there’s considerably more stigma than stardust surrounding the concept of the “supergroup” these days, due to most bands of this sort suffering from such a painful lack of anything resembling chemistry or creativity that they inevitably end up producing something far less than the sum of their parts.
There are exceptions to this though, and while the various members of Serpent of Gnosis may not be quite famous (or infamous) enough to truly call themselves a “supergroup”, musically speaking they’re still miles ahead of most of those who do.
Much of this, of course, must be attributed to the fact that the various members of the group have all been in various other bands with one another before this, meaning that they were already mostly familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses prior to the writing/recording of a single song.
Not only were vocalist Jonny Davy and guitarists Tony Sannicandro and Al Glassman all part of Job For A Cowboy before that band’s extended hiatus, but Glassman also knows both bassist Max Lavelle (The Black Dahlia Murder, ex-Despised Icon) and drummer Darren Cesca (ex-Deeds of Flesh, ex-Arsis) from his time with Goratory and Burn In Silence, and it’s these connections which help make Serpent of Gnosis feel more like an actual, established, band, rather than an exercise in elaborate egotism.
It also helps that this album absolutely rips, and leans much more towards Grind (the entire record clocks in at just over twenty-one-and-a-half minutes) than any of the various members’ day jobs.
Opener “Decoherence”, for example, is one minute and twenty four seconds of utterly relentless riffs, scattergun drumwork, and abrasive, bile-spewing vocals, that (almost) entirely eschews the catchy hooks and proggy technicality more generally associated with the quintet (both individually and collectively) in favour of a much more raw and in your face assault of furious Death/Grind that immediately sets the stage for the rest of the record.
Songs like “Paroxysmal Dance” and “A Mask of Lucidity”, for example, employ a similarly chaotic and contorted approach to the opener, with everything played at maximum speed and maximum volume, all driven relentlessly forward in an almost linear fashion by Cesca’s brutally effective and exceedingly busy drumming, while there’s a putrid, punky undercurrent pulsing away beneath the strafing blastbeats and throat-scraping vocals of tracks such as “Fragile Vessel of Serenity” and “The Colorless Capsules” that neatly (and nastily) reaffirms the band’s grimier, grindier credentials.
Of course with Sannicandro and Glasmann providing the tag-team riffosity there are definitely more than a few nods to latter-day Job For A Cowboy here and there (particularly on “Cognitivity” and “Hemorrhaging Fabrications”, both of which make me eager for the duo to get their “main” band back together sooner, rather than later) but, for the most part, As I Drink from the Infinite Well of Inebriation successfully avoids treading the exact same ground that the group’s various members have walked before and, in doing so, allows them an outlet for ideas which – for better or worse – they may not have been able to use or incorporate elsewhere.
But don’t just take my word for it. …Inebriation is out now via 1126 Records and streamable in full below. Just make sure your volume knob isn’t turned up too high before you push play… this thing is loud, abrasive, and not afraid to let you know it, and I refuse to be held responsible for any potential hearing damage it may cause!