Serpent Column - Endless Detainment
Experimental Black Metal
9 songs (21:28)
Release year: 2020
Official Bandcamp
Reviewed by Goat

Following on from last year's very promising Mirror in Darkness full-length, one-man-band Serpent Column is back and is no longer a one-man-band, the mysterious Theophonos being joined by the almost so M Holloway. And as you'd expect from an EP described as the band's most aggressive and concise work to date, this packs a powerful punch! The mix of influences of before from mathcore to grind are still present and correct, and this minimises the progressive black moments that fought to be heard on Mirror in Darkness in favour of an enveloping rage. From the opening seconds of first track Pantheoclasm, this is very much like early Coalesce or Cave In playing an especially blackened and sped-up hardcore/noise rock. It's far from traditional black metal or even hardcore itself, preferring to channel the two into an ear-scouring racket, more like what generally gets described as war metal than the blackened mathcore that the project first pricked ears with. And thanks to the bass being given practical equality in the mix with the guitars and drums (the vocals falling a little behind but no less effective) this is intense and overwhelming but not as repulsive to listen to as some extreme acts.

When Serpent Column are going all-out for your throat (and they do this most of the time) then the band's music forms a black hole of noise that, like the best black metal of days yore, has the effect of squinting into a blizzard and trying to make out distant shapes. Sure, some pieces here veer closer to hardcore (Manure in Pearls, packing a whole lot of anguish and anger into that sub-two minute blast) or sped-up mathcore (Wars Waged in Private I) yet the aggression and power behind the music remains constant. And when Serpent Column does something different to mere aural violence, such as the slightly slower pounding of Wars Waged in Private II, then the many shades of black being cast shift enough to make it interesting in an entirely different way.

You could narrow your gaze to, say, the moments of crushing death-grind on Antihelical, or the more technical riffery that underpins the title track's moments of lucidity, and appreciate them for what they are. Yet when viewed as a whole the EP makes for one hell of a battering, travelling through a relentless battlefield that is unafraid of twisting black metal's innate hostility into new forms. Sometimes, modern takes on black metal are sheer abominations, but Serpent Column make this work, and the overall effect of Endless Detainment is closer to early Cobalt than anything, albeit more vicious and uninterested in atmospheric dalliance - here, the violence forms its own atmosphere. Fans of leftfield black metal will know what a compliment that is! Serpent Column are close to reaching those heights already; as eager as any fan of violent music should be to see what comes next, there's no diminishing what Endless Detainment has achieved already. An excellent EP with its own character and impact, those that enjoy chaotic and violent music, be it black metal or not, should most definitely know the name of Serpent Column.

Killing Songs :
EP as a whole, especially Pantheoclasm, Violence Aesthete and Antihelical
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Serpent Column that we have reviewed:
Serpent Column - Katartisis (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Serpent Column - Mirror in Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
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