SerpentA certain shroud of mystery cloaks this lot. Apparently the band are from Sjælland Denmark but there’s no clue as to who the players are, not even the normal black metal initials for their names. One thing that is crystal clear is that their debut album ‘Circvmambulating The Stillborn’ is one hell of a potent affair. Following on from a two track demo that was released a couple of years ago it seems to have come from out of nowhere and it has to be said it’s completely blown me away. The group have played some shows with Degial and Vorum so with that in mind you have the feeling that this is going to deliver some solid occult blackness.

This it does over a perfect 44 minute running time totally devoid of any fat. Chants from a sepulchral crypt draw us in to its realms on opener ‘Epiphaneia’ before the group lay down their “Epistemology Of Death’ with a heady and full bodied, jarring contortion of heavyset grinding riffs. Dark melody and power coarse through this as it snappily takes hold, a snarl spews forth and the vocals are in over the flailing guitar parts, rabid and hungry. As the track weaves away things become more pronounced and unhinged vocally. There’s a suitable red-mist of madness and eccentricity about them. The music glistens and razor sharp obsidian riffs spiral out drenching everything in a cold and majestic atmosphere. As the vocal parts progress I get a vibe from them that is somewhat reminiscent to both Attila Csihar and Kvarforth which is most unholy praise to bestow upon their progenitor whomever they may be.

It’s an album of stealth rather than one of all out speed, it lurks in the shadows sinuously spilling out and slithering from dark corners before rearing up and venomously biting with fast flourishes. The title track gives a veritable battering but breaks things up with slow doom-laden crepuscular parts doing just as I mentioned and breaks like this really draw you in to the deep depths of the songs before pitching you back down into the hellish abyss. ‘Mortui Vivos Docent’ has a long and gorgeously gloomy guitar part with very depressive tones about it beckoning you in before the grating snarl of the instrument bristles up and everything roars off. There’s plenty here for fans of all the aforementioned artists as well as those into the likes of Dissection and Watain too. No doubt live the band who appear to add to the mystery playing hooded and masked up from clips I have found, exude a certain deathly stench with the display too.

The weaving occult sermon continues with plenty of morbid tones and compelling flourishes, wrapping itself around me and becoming a near obsession. It’s an album that once taken hold will not let you go easily and despite having plenty to listen to on deadline at the moment it seems to keep working its way to the top of the pile and a forked tongue speaks in the back of my head compelling me to play it once more. There’s no standout track here it is all absolutely fascinating and equally coercive. I can only hope they get over here and play at some point although no doubt someone will tell me they already have and I will be forced to give myself a good kicking for having missed it! As the sly shimmering riffs draw into the next track, I am enraptured waiting for the explosive thrust to blow me out my chair, when it does it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. The circuitous riffs bite in and uncoil with a real cunning alacrity and as the austere vocals rear over the top I can only look for the dotted line to sign up as an acolyte, willing to spill my blood as a signature.

Yep I’m totally impressed by this one, the only real annoyance is that apparently the album actually came out at the tail end of 2015 so missed out on an album of the year placement. Deadlier than a pit full of vipers!

(9/10 Pete Woods)