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Serpentine Path: Emanations

Album Review

Supergroup of grimness narrow their sights

The 2012 debut album from this New York doom/death crew aroused much interest, featuring as it did all three members of defunct avant-doomsters Unearthly Trance alongside ex-Electric Wizard/Ramesses bassist/guitarist Tim Bagshaw. Now joined by ex-Winter axeman Stephen Flam, Serpentine Path’s status as supergroup is cast-iron.

Perhaps predictably less challenging than the ever-unpredictable Unearthly Trance, Serpentine Path do however kick up a hell of a lot of dust. As one might expect from musicians with such a sadism-ridden collective CV, Emanations makes for a serious beatdown, songtitles such as Disfigured Colossus and Systematic Extinction offering more than a hint of what’s in store. 

With grim vocals, gruesome riffing and pummelling rhythms, it should have the hipster end of the doom scene running for cover. It’s not without atmosphere – Treacherous Waters and Torment are fleetingly evocative of more than just pure misery – but don’t wait on respite; it never arrives. Being more narrowly focused than some of their former bands allows them to concentrate on doing not very much very well and – though Electric Wizard don’t have anything to lose sleep over – they do so relentlessly.

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