Shrine of the Serpent – S/T

How slow can slow be?  If one gets too slow can that slowly lead to slow degradation?  Or is all slow good if we’re talking about doom?  The word doom itself implies a slowing, if you will, so slow must be the way of the word and the truth, correct?  Well, yes, theoretically, provided the creator of the slow understands one thing, if you’re going slow, the melodies need to be clearly developed, not just slow.  Simply holding a chord over an extended time never works without drugs, we’ve found from debating this with others, or without knowing what in the hell music is, apparently.  Slowness is an expectation for most examples of doom, but it’s often abused, or worse assumed to be the only requirement for greatness, when in fact in such a case it becomes more of a requirement for the bargain bin.  No one wants to be in there, tossed away for 1/4 of the original price next to rudimentary R&B and Christmas albums.  Oh God, please, no, don’t let it come to that…


Shrine of the Serpent is where our conversation next moves.  They’re new, like one year old, in fact they’re so young you might as well talk about their age in terms of months like an infant.  But much unlike an infant, they’re further developed neurologically, if it’s possible to use that in a symbolic way as was just attempted.  Technically the beginnings of the band started in 2008 under another name, but this current incarnation is most modern, and still, as of yet, unsigned and looking for trouble with self-promotion.  But they know what they’re doing, clearly, because this one came with stickers.  Even before listening, so cool was the art, two of those stickers got tagged onto things.  And then sadness reigned, simply because we lost the damn CD why God why?  Well, as it turns out, it wasn’t lost, it merely fell into a little space, and within that space it was found to open your eyes to proper slowness.


Shrine of the Serpent is closer to EP in length with only three songs at almost 30 minutes, but there’s more than enough to get these guys out of the deep, stagnant sludge water that is modern doom.  A decade or so ago you had a few bands that anyone really paid attention to, and all the minors were largely overlooked, but now it’s such a big thing there’s another band every minute, and frankly most of them pull the same old slow.  Slow is hard, but deceiptful.  Shrine of the Serpent know exactly what they’re doing, however.  Their chord work drags like frozen tar, though at times they will increase the tempo through faster drums.  Expect slowness, but what makes these guys stand out is the intricacy of their chording, solos, and melody development in spite of the slow.  This first release stands as an altar around which they can construct an entire cathedral if they keep doing what they’re doing.  A clever mix of the usual with some funeral elements and atmosphere accomplished only via chording and vocals, the latter echoing depravity and anguish.  Shrine of the Serpent largely leaves the listener to judge them on their essence without any lacy frills.  It’s all crush, and nothing more, but that’s all it needs.


Shrine of the Serpent Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Shrine of the Serpent: S/T
4.8 / 5