Serpent Column - Katartisis (EP)
Experimental Black Metal
9 songs (24:09)
Release year: 2021
Official Bandcamp
Reviewed by Goat

The third EP and sixth release overall from this mysterious American project feels quite different to previously-reviewed releases. It moves away from the all-encompassing rage of Endless Detainment in favour of a more technical exploration, although it certainly still has that anger and violence woven deep in its DNA as opener Final Orders shows immediately with a battering that borrows from the usual mathcore and even grind influences. The EP flows well between songs, smoothly opening into something more progressive and melodic on the following Dereliction II which tempers that with uncomfortable screeching in an almost industrial feel. And although songs are mostly around the one-minute-plus mark, those that do extend their running time do so well; the first example being the intense Disobedience which devolves into a groovy morass around the midpoint reminiscent of one of Napalm Death's mid-90s experiments!

Disobedient indeed, but then this project has never focused on the traditional side of black metal. Even the fastest and most blackened moments here, such as the charging sub-minute Subduction, has the air of a Converge to it rather than, say, Carpathian Forest, and the (always excellent) riffs stray from the blackened fold on the likes of Exterminating Love. Cold Fires is a real highlight, starting with progressive zeal even as it tears through your ears, before switching to a rhythmic bounce not unlike Godflesh's more danceable moments. Technical little instrumental workouts like the title track don't suffer in comparison, so well-integrated are these experiments into Serpent Column's overall sound. And the most potentially contentious piece on the album, the six-minute-plus Edelweiss, has a sense of post-punk to it even as it works in mathcore flurries and blackened shrieks. Another excellent outing for the project.

Killing Songs :
Final Orders, Disobedience, Exterminating Love, Cold Fires, Edelweiss
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Serpent Column that we have reviewed:
Serpent Column - Endless Detainment reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Serpent Column - Mirror in Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
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