He Who Holds The Conch: SERPENTINE PATH – “Serpentine Path” Review

Doom is a genre of music that I adore. I love the dredging guitars, the powerful energy and the all-around atmosphere that these bands spew forth. I have quite a catalog of different varieties of doom that I love, but one I cannot get enough of is the infamous deathdoom tag. What is it about deathdoom that I am drawn to? I believe it is the raw aggression that you get from death metal but slowed to an ungodly level. You can create a much darker and horrifying atmosphere from slow and depressing music than you can from fast, pissed off tunes. It is for this reason that I have fallen head-over-heels for the deathdoom supergroup Serpentine Path, whose members have more than a few hands in the doom field. This band has completely obliterated my senses and I cannot get enough.

Last night I sat down and watched Lord Of The Flies for the first time in about six years. I have wanted to watch it for ages but could never find it on DVD, so I didn’t. While watching random movie clips on YouTube I was recommended a  video which turned out to be the entire movie. I was stoked. While watching the movie I replaced the films score with that of some demented doom. Not literally, of course. It was all in my head. When I sat down today to do this review, the film is still fresh in my mind and I feel that Serpentine Path’s Relapse debut would make a fantastic score for this movie.

Lord Of The Flies is not the point of this review, though. No, it’s just that the dark atmosphere that surrounded these children as they were trapped on this deserted island coincided with the dooming power that is this band. The opening song “Arrows” begins with a sample that heralds a beast bearing the mark of the beast rising up out of the water much like the boys came out of the water in the movie. This track is a slow, pummeling slab of death and I love it. If you listen to this track and think “this can’t get any better,” you’ve got a lot to look forward to because this album only gets better.

Each track contains a very strong odor of filth and depravity locked inside of these drawn out riffs and slow but devastating drumming. Tracks like “Bats Amongst Heathens” is something I could see playing as Jack tracked down and killed a wild hog in the jungle. It’s steady and grooving it reeks of impending obliteration. Tracks like “Croatalus Horridus Horridus” and “Aphelion” have a very special sound to them. Much like “Bats Among Heathens,” these are not the slowest tracks on the album but they do have that deathdoom stench to them. While listening to “Aphelion” and its disgusting dirges, I can see Simon taking it upon himself to search the Monster’s cave. Towards the end of the track there is a part where the drumming picks up quite a bit and the riffing suddenly stops. This is where Simon was murdered while running back towards the hunter’s camp.

“Compendium Of Suffering” is a dark and demanding slab of filth that you are immediately drawn into. It is at this point that Piggy decides to stand up for his beliefs, raises the Conch and demands to speak. Around the two-and-a-half minute mark there are intervals of droning guitar in which I can picture the giant boulder smashing down onto Piggy’s head. As the tracks drudges, Piggy’s body lies motionless in the sand as Jack smirks from his perch. The album ends on the somber funereal offering “Only A Monolith Remains.” It is at this point that Ralph takes on the hunter’s camp and the jungle is set aflame. The track picks up and becoming an unholy beast, beckoning you to come closer, listen harder. As the track draws to a close, as does the boys terrifying time on the island.

Rating: 10/10
For fans of: Hooded Menace, Unearthly Trance, Bastard Priest
Favorite track: “Arrows”, “Compendium Of Suffering”
Label: Relapse Records
Release date: September 11, 2012

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