Recently, I haven’t come across any sort of black metal that can be akin to that of a painting. There haven’t been many pieces that have crossed my radar lately that feel layered with care to create an experience that can be equal parts brutal as much as it is creative. And as if to dispel this drought of mine, along comes Serpent Column and their debut of “Ornuthi Thalassa” that’s easily one of the most engrossing pieces of black metal that I’ve heard in months.
A debut album such as this is something that can quite easily be a real head turner if it’s presented to the right audience, and even though I can’t say I’m in love with “Ornuthi Thalassa” I can easily admit that it has earned Serpent Column my attention. With this album being based on part of the Illiad (this album being the first in a series of records based on the epic), Serpent Column could take the direction of their sound almost anywhere, and what we got is a very layered, dynamic, and intricately designed piece of black metal peppered with some death to provide flavor that really pulls through in the end to give us a familiar texture that still feels fresh. Everything about “Ornuthi Thalassa” flows incredibly well that provides an organic feel to the material while the two band members manage to come together and really give it their all in these six tracks of varying length to flex their muscles as musicians and how they can’t be pushed around like your run-of-the-mill black metal band we get so wearily often. And while Serpent Column doesn’t exemplify the best traits of black metal, they still use tropes of the style to provide an experience that’s still unique and filled with flavor with “Ornuthi Thalassa” to where I’d be more than interested to see how this American duo can go in the future.
Give this band a year at least and I can almost guarantee that they’ll be back with a new piece of material that’ll completely overshadow this exceptional album in so many ways. “Ornuthi Thalassa” is nothing to scoff at, but there’s definitely work to be done and new heights to be reached. And whenever Serpent Column accomplishes those feats I will happily be there to once again join in on the madness.
LISTEN to “Ornuthi Thalassa” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Serpent Column on Facebook here.