A new name rising from the depths of Montreal’s death metal scene, Serpent Corpse are bringing the old school feel on their debut album Blood Sabbath. Their 2021 demo tantalised us with tastes of d-beat carnage and nasty grim death metal riffs so this could actually be something ‘old school death’ with some merit for a change. It is out now through Temple Of Mystery Records.
As always with some records, I’ve got to talk about the great album artwork, looking like a cross between some old-school sci-fi or fantasy novel mixed with classic ‘90s death metal record covers. A proper Dan Seagrave-meets-Terry Pratchett cover for an appropriately old-fashioned record. Blood Sabbath reeks of old school Autopsy, Nihilist and even a little death ‘n’ roll influence as well. The double header of Electric Eye and Nemesis gives me frightening Entombed memories, while the swampy production lends Swallowed Whole By The Abyss an ugly, rotting feel.
That is somewhat of a recurring theme throughout Serpent Corpse‘s work. The only solid base is the pounding drums as the bass rumbles and creaks underneath slippery, slimy guitar lines and cavernous roars echo across these pools of death metal ichor. Like a prince of death upon a throne of filth, there are moments of ugly grandeur, the spacious Let The Rats Feed being a good example.
Twisted guitar leads sweep across a brutal landscape of mid-paced, full-blooded death metal…
Twisted guitar leads sweep across a brutal landscape of mid-paced, full-blooded death metal. It is a strange feeling in OSDM to experience a sense of almost regality, an understanding that we can have both traditions and innovations. The old legends rarely stood still in one form, so why should the new pretenders?
When the annals of ‘modern’ old school death metal are finally written, there will be a lot to criticise and most of that will be the oversaturation and the lack of imagination. But albums like Blood Sabbath will be in the ‘hidden gems’ section, giving us a more honest and ethos minded approach to the style.
Serpent Corpse have managed to conjure up a collection of songs that belie any expectations of sameness, of lack of imagination and of boredom. Blood Sabbath is a record that manages to inject a sense of grandeur into something genuinely swampy and hideous, and for that, it should be remembered. A tribute to the forefathers as it should be, with substance and style rather than the tired copycat schtick that plagues us.