Spirituality is a staple of black metal, more than in any other genre of extreme metal. Although some death metal bands seem to have made a religion out of gore, and there’s no shortage of pentagrams and blood sacrifices in the classics of doom, not to mention the worship of Lovecraft just about everywhere, it is in the realms of the pitch black where supernatural belief dominates.
The exaltation of Nature is its own form of worship among many black metal bands, but there is only one figure at the very top of the pantheon. In different guises and explored through a multitude of different esoteric manifests and practices, it is Lucifer (though his names are legion) who provides the principal inspiration, or at least that is what many bands proclaim, though one suspects it is faux faith in many instances.
Serpens Lvx brandish Satanism lavishly on their debut album, extensively entitled HENDECAGRAMICON: Adversarial Ethos Exoterically Unlocking Shrines Of Dissolution, though their thematic subject matter extends to mythic demonic figures of greater variety: The song titles, for example, include references to Tiamat, Typhon, Quetzalcoatl, and Aztec vampyrism. It is a variant metaphysics — the album also includes a song called “Anticosmic Eroticism (Sexual Black Light Magick)” — but the through-lines are apparent.
The important question, of course, is how this part-Mexican, part-Russian duo have elucidated their themes in sound. We have examples for you, including a song we’re premiering today: “I Am The Adversary (Impii Irreligiosi Carnivoribus Immortalibus)“.
The Latin part of the title explains just what sort of adversaries we’re about to confront (though maybe it is just one manifestation of THE adversary) — wicked, irreligious, carnivorous immortals.
Sounds of ominous might and sinister delight create the song’s introductory phase, rendered in heavy lo-frequency undulations, writhing and ringing guitars, and the sharp smack of the drums — punctuated by brutish jolts. But soon enough, chaos and torment reign as the guitars convulse in madness and inflamed snarls and screams eject their venom.
The urgent throb of the subterranean bass and maniacal percussive eruptions join together with the swirling and screaming guitar dissonance to enhance the blended atmosphere of ruinous upheaval and despair — and to keep adrenaline levels high. Fanatical proclamations and serrated roars and shrieks trade places with a wailing guitar solo that elevates into a searing seizure of sound above rapid-fire drum progressions.
The whole experience is absolutely electrifying, and somehow there’s as much haughty, esoteric grandeur in the music as there is lunacy and violence.
As a further measure of what Serpens Lvx have achieved, we’ll also share the previously released song “TZINAKANKAMAZOTZ (Aztec Vampyrism)“. This one is just as much of a head-spinner as the song we’ve just premiered. It too includes a riotous drum performance, crazed vocals that seem caught in the throes of possession, and typhoons of riffage that gloriously blaze and ruthlessly scathe the senses.
But here too, and especially when the whipping vortex of sound briefly slows, the music also channels agony and hopelessness, and it also soars in synth-enhanced displays of towering malignancy and hideous splendor, with yet another freaked-out guitar solo propelling the song to its extravagant, breathtaking finale.
A few more details:
Serpens Lvx was founded in 2016 in Russia by musician Vorronah, later joined by vocalist Alemsahim (Agustín Romero), who then moved from Mexico to Russia. They now take the names Vorronha and Tzinacan.
HENDECAGRAMICON… features artwork by Depravarts, and it will be jointly released on June 30th on jewelbox CD formats by a quartet of labels: Satanath Records (Georgia); Australis Records (Chile); Pluton’s Rising Productions (Poland); and The End Of Time Records (Ireland).
For more info and to order, check the links below.