The great howling fear of spiritual possession that spans dubious historical documentation throughout the modern history of mankind attempts to suggest that any host will do, unwilling or otherwise. There is no great reason any daimon would persist such energy with an unreasonable stratagem, who in their timeless wisdom would pick peon for legion and risk weakening each generation with such servitude? Unhallowed commune with the ageless nurture of the labyrinthine ritualistic verbosity provided by scholarly occult tongues suggests a different sort of derangement is required for demonic conjuration, incantation, and meaningful worship — It is a defiance and devotion unto encumbering ritual that is entirely voluntary, requiring an intensely studied universal point of view while engaging the collective wisdom of repressed or damned cultures throughout the fringe history of the world. No entrance into Satanic, Luciferian, or Draconian order comes with too-high requirements yet true deviant transcendence rarely arrives for the cheek-chewing poor or well-blistered daughter of whatever pantokrator requires penitence. The Ordo Draconis isn’t a subject I could speak on with any true knowledge but, no doubt I am familiar with the lyrics of Dragon Rouge founder Thomas Karlsson contributed to post-‘A’arab Zaraq – Lucid Dreaming’ Therion as well as his work in Shadowseeds in the mid-90’s. The great oversight of connective tissue on my part is having intensely enjoyed Greek occult black metal band Serpent Noir‘s second album (‘Erotomysticism‘, 2015) without realizing Karlsson had collaborated with the band heavily starting with that album, spiritually and lyrically. This third full-length from the Athens based band, ‘Death Clan OD’, is even more devoted to the Red Dragon as Serpent Noir sings the praises of ritual, tenets of the order, and prose glorifying the incantations necessary to enlighten through the darkness. A work of an order glowing with possession, alight with inspiring mid-paced melodic black metal more austere and infectious than ever before.
A mid-paced occult black metal foil for an Athenian brotherhood since 2006 that’d soon include Swedish membership beyond formative motions, Serpent Noir enriches the already stunning body of work from members of Embrace of Thorns, Ofermod, and Head of the Demon with a discography unfaltering in its pacing but wholly adventurous in advance of melodic phrasing. ‘Death Clan OD’ comes bearing a regal and intensely classic mode, speaking the neoclassical lilt of late 90’s melodic black metal with as much zealous enthusiasm as ‘Reinkaos’ while building driving pieces that bound with a serious, nigh joyously dark feeling. A passionate pitch is realized as the six song ~38 minute album strikes a balance of sly-but-sincere melodicism, a unification of the finer points of Greek and Swedish black metal woven into an impressive musical statement. The succinct vision of Serpent Noir after a 4-5 year development cycle beyond the impactful but underrated ‘Erotomysticism’ acts as an electrical shock, an invigorating but dangerous head-to-toe scouring, a strike of its dark lightning upon the mind. I’d struggle through thoughts as the commanding presence of ‘Death Clan OD’ flattened me by way of my own ignorance of its ordo championed.
Daunted by the imposing black fog of the subject matter and hoping for some osmotic channel to seep through, the aforementioned melodic strengths of ‘Death Clan OD’ offer compelling enough allure to grasp that Serpent Noir are anything but frightening for the average black metal fan. The attack of the music manifests as appropriately grand psychotic castle for black metal resonance while bearing a silken textural element, slithering restlessly out of sight while setting focus upon its rotten-sweet bouquet of well honed and thematic musical ideas. “Asmodeus: The Sword of Golachab” reaches this point naturally, embodying the greater ambitions of the music while carrying a core melodic theme through a developing narrative. Seven intelligences increase in spiritual intensity as the album progresses, reaching god-like forms of melodic black metal on “Astaroth: The Jaws of Gha’Agsheblah” and beyond. The invocation of “GOEH RA REAH: Garm Unchained” is the most unexpected and unmissable piece of the experience as it features Karlsson‘s vocals in a form more commanding than those of ‘Dream of Lilith’ soon accompanied by the impressive final peak of the album by way of a chorale of baritone chants. The incline of intensity achieved on a full listen of ‘Death Clan OD’ is thrilling as it comes to a head and loops back into itself seamlessly.
When it comes time to reflect upon Serpent Noir‘s third album holistically, it is yet it’s core success as a melodic black metal album that flings me back into ‘Death Clan OD’ repeatedly. The entirety of the piece is bestowed with a perceptible magic that resonates with some stunning power, inspiring the receptive listener upon a quest to understand the deeper meaning of each facet. This could serve some anxietous bout of wonder for the naturally curious, or studious, as the themes are equally complex and mystifying. This finest collaborative devotion from Serpent Noir surely deserves a very high recommendation for its beauteous melodic structures and meaningfully applied occult spirituality.
Very high recommendation. 4.5/5.0
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