Many of us, when reading about Verminous Serpent‘s lineup, didn’t need to know anything more in order to be drawn to the music, like iron filings to a big magnet. Knowing only that the band includes Slidhr‘s Joseph Deegan on guitar, Malthusian‘s Matt Bree on drums, and Primordial‘s A.A. Nemtheanga on vocals and bass, was more than enough to ignite interest and intrigue.
What their collaboration has spawned is a 41-minute album named The Malign Covenant, a title that proves to be entirely fitting for this trio’s own collaborative covenant. Not for naught does the advance publicity from Amor Fati Productions (who will release the album on March 17th) describe the music as “a rippling soundworld of lurking dread and sulfurous tension, where intensity is measured not by speed or density but by the hideous sensations that shapeshift within the listener’s subconscious”.
The music proves to be an alchemical cauldron of black metal that’s in some measure primitive and preternatural, muscle-moving and spine-tingling, but also well-calculated to create horrifying visions of mesmeric power, capable of both ascending into vistas of world-threatening calamity and descending into lightless pits of misery and death unending. No pun intended, it makes reflexive and riveting connections to dark, primordial energies that still lurk within us.
As a vivid example of what we’re trying to describe, today we present the album’s second advance track, “Seraphim Falls“.
Like other songs on the album, including the mammoth closer “Death’s Head Mantra”, “Seraphim Falls” is longer than average. Speaking as objectively as we can, there is nevertheless no chance your attention will wander as it follows its truly hellish path.
The curtain is drawn slowly, with a collage of ominous and eerie sounds, including demonic growls, that chill the blood. With a shriek of feedback, the music explodes in a storm-front of searing and scathing audio abrasion and maniacal percussion. The drumming steadies, just in time for Nemtheanga‘s haughty roars and scalding screams to reverberate off the inside of your skull, but the guitars continue to broil the senses, expanding into a panorama of conflagration.
The drums detonate like bombs, and the music begins to heave and stomp, creating a mood of heartless cruelty. A deranged lead guitar screams and wails, leaving a long echo of ear-piercing despair over bass-tone throbs and crashing drums. The music then swaggers and swings, quivers and careens, as the drummer booms and batters, and then it staggers like a wounded beast, trailing agony, with a fever in its blood.
The vicious vocals continue sending shivers down the spine in a multitude of infernal ways, and the drum-blows continue raining down rhythmic bombs as the guitars morph and mutilate the senses.
The Malign Covenant is the first public work of Verminous Serpent, and we hope will not be the last. Amor Fati will release it on on CD and vinyl LP formats formats. For more info about the album and how to acquire it, keep an eye on the locations linked below. We’re also including a stream of the album’s stunning first advance track, “Transcendent Pyre“.