NecrwretchThe sophomore offering by this French trio is as raw as it is extreme. The stripped down sound, buzzing guitars and hyper fast drumming are reminiscent of early 90’s black metal, but with the occasional melody thrown in for good measure.

The cavernous sounds opening “Black Death Communion” are quickly banished as the strains of guitar twiddle in before the distortion pedal is kicked and a far more aggressive sound takes over. Vlad’s vocals are spat out as a raspy stream of clipped shouts with the occasional lengthy roar when the guitars slow to a steadily repeated riff while Ilmar’s sounds hell-bent on destroying his drum kit as he doles out a healthy beating to the cymbals and snare.

“Feast Off Their Doom” starts off slightly slower to give a nice atmospheric build up to the blasting and screaming that’s to follow, all the while the guitar riff retains its pace as it cycles through itself.

More screaming and shouting abounds in the title track “With Serpents Scourge” which also manages to get the guitars to play the monotonous riff that little bit faster as the drums alternate between blasting and jazzy offbeats to give the song a bit of variation.

What sounds like it could be really early Sepultura with the speed and venom of its delivery, “By Evil And Beyond” also includes a breakneck lead showing Vlad is a proficient guitarist.

Keeping the speed up and making the sharp ticky sound of the cymbals cut through the vocals on “The Bells Of Evil Schism” has Ilmar working relentlessly on this fast paced track.

By this point the songs are starting to meld together with “He Thrones On Thy Sins” being quickly followed by “Even Death May Die”, unfortunately Amphycion’s bass is never high enough in the mix to be clearly discernible makes the majority of the tracks very tops heavy.

“Infernal Imprecation” is a short instrumental comprising mostly of a single guitar note and the occasional drum roll before “Mortem Ritu” commences and while the guitar riff throws in the occasional melody it’s mostly back to the raw aggression with possibly the most impressive lead on the album halfway through.

Sadly I was expecting so much more from this, but on the whole it was let down by the fact that it was trying to sound too raw when getting a more polished sound would’ve been more palatable for me. But at the same time, I’m guessing that’s exactly what they were going for, so job accomplished there, but gone are the days I want to listen to something sounding like it was recorded at band practice and passed on as authentic or retro.

(4/10  Marco Gaminara)