Ensemble Under The Dark Sun

Serpent of Old

SERPENT OF OLD is a black/death metal band from Turkey; 'Ensemble Under The Dark Sun' […]
Serpent of Old - Ensemble Under The Dark Sun album cover

SERPENT OF OLD is a black/death metal band from Turkey; 'Ensemble Under The Dark Sun' is their debut full length album. What stands out immediately  is how well the album truly blends death and black metal together. Despite their common extremity, the two genres are very different so it is quite remarkable how seamless the two are on this album. Another highlight is the production- absolutely fantastic. The whole collection of songs sounds immense but just rough enough to give it that dirty, hellish atmosphere that black metal needs. The mixing brings out the brutal nature of their death metal side—every instrument can be enjoyed without any one overpowering the other but each one will overpower your ears and senses.  This is an album that just doesn't stop.

The album begins with 'The Sin Before The Great Sin.'  I love the slow build up with riffs as thick as concrete.  The drumming is slow too but always interesting, holding down the foundation while complimenting there other elements in the song.  The riff and accompanying harrowing screen around the 1:42 is spine chilling good.  It is impressive how quickly the band settles into a rhythm after the build up.  The slower temp comes back after the halfway point with some interesting guitar parts laying over the distortion. 'Unsaturated Hunger and Esoteric Lust,' begins the exact opposite by firing right out of the gate.  The combination of the bass and drums is tight as hell and responsible for much of the song's atmosphere.   Around the five and half minute mark or so, the song takes on a feeling of sickened desperation as the drums hammer their way to the underground and the guitar/bass offer crushing riff after crushing riff.

'The Fall,' would be a standout for the bass alone but, of course, it is a team effort.  This particular song sounds pensive and tragic in places, in between the speedy bludgeoning that pieces the slower, more introspective moments together.   At the halfway point the song almost seems to double down onto itself...an incredibly heavy and even suffocating passage awaits the listener, capped off by the insane vocals. 'Virtue of the Devil In His Loins,' is an okay song for an instrumental but really is nothing more than an interlude.  Not bad but with so much more going on in the other songs, there isn't any real need for this.  'From the Impending Dusk' is unrelenting in its approach to constantly change as it slithers along.  It begins with the guitars acting as more of a drop in atmospheric pressure as the drums and vocals start their attack.  As the song moves forward, it becomes more and more grinding, as if it is just some undead thing that cannot be stopped by conventional means.

Bursts of a more classic black metal approach push their way through, backed by a barrage of drums.  This leads into the middle part of the song, around the 4:02 mark, where the song becomes so dense that it nearly drowns me in pure sonic prowess. The last couple minutes of the song  features what amounts to melody for this band, complete with a surprisingly moving yet flashy guitar solo. Other than the interlude, the final track, 'Idiosyncrasy,' is the shortest song on the album but I'll be damned if it isn't one of the best.  Crashing drums and a sea of double bass give way to some more interesting lead work as the song becomes very choppy and unrelenting.  In other places, the song pulls down to a slower tempo and lets the bass shred through the riffs.

All in all, SERPENT OF OLD has released quite the stunning debut with "Ensemble Under The Dark Sun.'  If they are already this good, who knows what the future will bring outside of world domination?

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"Ensemble Under The Dark Sun" Track-listing:

1. The Sin Before The Great Sin
2. Unsaturated Hunger and Esoteric Lust
3. The Fall
4. Virtue of the Devil in His Loins
5. From the Impending Dusk
6. Idiosyncrasy

Serpent of Old Lineup:

Ozan Gürbüz - Vocals
Atakan Güçlü - Guitars
Doğa Tarhan - Guitars
Yalaz Öner - Bass
Kerem Kaan - Drums

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