The Serapeum is a remarkable new EP created by the Egyptian metal artist Nader Sadek and a star-strewn coterie of talented friends. To celebrate its imminent release, we’re presenting a second video for a song from the EP, which joins another one that we premiered earlier.
We’ve already devoted a lot of attention to this EP, including a wide-ranging interview by DJ Jet of Nader Sadek and two of his collaborators on The Serapeum. But for those who might have missed that, this new EP grew out of a collaboration in Egypt among Nader, Karl Sanders (Nile), Derek Roddy (Serpents Rise), and Mahmud Gecekusu (Perversion).
And if those names weren’t already enough to seize your attention, the music also includes contributions by bassists Ben “Barby” Claus (Gorod) and Dominic “Forest” Lapointe (Augury) and vocalists Morean (Dark Fortress) and Shaun LaCanne (Putrid Pile), as well as Alex Zubair (Nephelium) creating eastern harmonies and drones, and Nancy Mounir adding theremin hauntings to the mix. Moreover, Sadek himself recorded the vocals inside the inner chamber of Dahshur’s “Red Pyramid” (the pyramid of Snefru).
As explained in the interview mentioned above, the EP consists of four tracks, each of them a variation on the same song. The one we previously premiered, “The Serapeum:Polluted Waters“, is described by Nader as a “warmer version” of the song that he, Sanders, Roddy, and Gecekusu created over multiple jam sessions in Egypt. In his words, it has “a golden, eastern, and ancient feel to it”, augmented by Dominic Lapointe‘s fretless bass wizardry, the haunting tones of Nancy Mounir‘s theremin performance, and the eastern harmonies crafted by Alex Zubair.
But make no mistake, as exotic as “Polluted Waters” is, it’s also a firebrand piece of death metal. It begins with a beguiling Eastern melody that brims with mystery, and then comes the death metal. It’s a ton of fun watching the performers in the video, and the music is a ton of fun too — and by fun, I mean it’s vicious, brutal, brazen, and bombastic. It burns like a wildfire, ecstatically darts and wails, rises in sinister majesty, and becomes crushingly oppressive and frighteningly eerie — and Nader‘s vocals, both spoken and roaring, are terrifying. At the end, the song also does its damnedest to pound every bone in your body to smithereens.
The song we’re premiering today through another video, “The Serapeum: Black Osiris“, is (in Nader’s words) “an opposite version” of “Polluted Waters”: “It has this kind of cold, razor-sharp feel, which also suits the style heard on In the Flesh, an amalgamation of black and death metal, not by alternating riffs — a death metal with a black-metal riff — but somehow death metal played with the black metal spirit”.
For this version of the song, Gecekusu handled the principle riffing, with Barby Claus on bass, Morean providing chants, and Shaun LaCanne adding filthy gutturals in the chorus.
The prelude to this version of the song is also mysterious, but gloriously sinister — and it explodes into a ripping fury. There’s plenty of fast-twitch fretwork and explosive drumming in this turbocharged thrill-ride, with yet another spectacular guitar solo adding to the track’s tremendous, savage energy. The song is so white-hot that it risks melting down your listening device, and will certainly give your adrenaline levels a huge kick in the ass.
When the song slows this time, the feeling of majesty is downright hellish and blood-freezing, and the pounding finale, accented by glistening arpeggios, is nightmarish.
The EP includes two other tracks. One of them, “ReSarcaphogus“, features Nader Sadek‘s vocals recorded inside the strange confines of the sarcophagus, with the weird sound distortions of that location made even more strange by backing electronics. It’s short, but long enough to send shivers down your spine.
And the final track is a recording of the first live performance of “The Serapeum“, which is completely ravaging. Listening to it is like being transported into a hurricane, in the middle of a war zone. The vocals are insane, the blast-fueled drumming is off the hook, the riffing is slaughtering and deranged, the soloing seems even more lightning-fast and berserk, and the breakdown is apocalyptic. Although the live recording is stripped of some of the accents in the recorded version, its immense visceral impacts (both riotous and deeply unsettling) aren’t diminished one bit.
And so, although this EP is built around the fundamentals of a single song, all four tracks provide varied experiences that make the whole EP well worth having. It’s available for purchase at Bandcamp now, and we expect that a full Bandcamp stream will be available for listening soon.