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4 out of 5 skulls
November 14, 2014 | ,

Serpentine Path Emanations

Serpentine Path’s debut, self-titled album was crushingly methodic and evil, marching along at the pace of rigor mortis. Their sophomore effort continues down the same path of decay with a bit more emphasis on song structure, dynamics and with a keen focus on delivering a refined product. Emanations is just as brooding and threatening as it’s predecessor, but also more flowing and romping.

The biggest difference between Emanations and the band’s debut is the addition of second guitarist Stephen Flam (Winter). The effort that he brings to the band’s sound doesn’t really alter it, but instead adds a fullness and depth to the malevolent riffage that dominates. “Essence of Heresy” is a prime example of that richness and fullness that makes the song that much more powerful. I also don’t know if it’s Flam’s influence or just a decision by the band, but there’s a chill to this album that wasn’t present on the first. It’s much colder which only adds to the band’s brand of doom.

“House of Worship” sees the band inject a little life into the album, with a churning groove that drives the guttural vocals and marching riffage to the precipice. It’s a livelier track than say “Treacherous Waters” which starts out slowly, fading in from the distance, only to remain plodding and monolithic in delivery. It’s also a song that injects a cold, slithering bit of melody into the mix. “Claws” carries a wavering bit of guitar as the guys crawl to an even slower pace. Throughout it all is the gurgling vocal delivery of Ryan Lipynsky — his raspy growls fit the tone of the album perfectly, maybe even more so on the rather catchy “Disfigured Colossus.”

When all is said and done, Emanations sees the band keeping true to the style they introduced with the freshman release. This, however, isn’t just more of the same. There’s life within the murky, chilling doom of these seven songs. The addition of a second guitarist certainly doesn’t hurt as the band has new depths and fullness on display.

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