Following on from their two previous offerings, 2020’s Nihil and Ascension in 2022, Belgian Black Metal adepts Serpents Oath return with their third studio full-length. Revelation is a ten-track, thirty-three-minute offering that musically treads old ground with dynamic and lethal efficiency.
Serpents Oath – Revelation (Odium Records)
Release Date: 20 December 2023
Words: Jools Green
The inspiration behind the lyrical content of Revelation has both a classically Black Metal and an esoteric leaning.
“The Eternal City lies in ruins, and the broken bodies of the Host are scattered through the rubble. A trail of blood and ichor leads through the scene of smouldering desolation and desecration to the holiest of holies, to the very throne of God. And there, while a bereft creation screams in anguish, sits the exiled one returned, the forsaken son, the Morning Star, the Adversary…Lucifer, Satan, the Lord of Hell and Prince of Darkness…now King of Heaven.
“Sated on the rich wine of vengeance and angelic tears, he gazes through the shifting smoke and improbable flames at the kneeling seraphim in chains. He looks upon the dawn of a new era, a new beginning, a new universal order. He looks upon his kingdom, and he sees that it is good…”
After opening on the ritualistic intro Invocation Genesis, it’s straight into Blood Covenant, which bursts forth with an intense dark force. A superb piece that is as varied in its composition, with superbly fluid tempo and direction switching, as it is driving and vitriolic.
Gateways To Tiamat is dark, melodic and eerie, and the vocals are acidic. It’s a hypnotic and intense piece with a sudden switch of pace and direction in the latter part of the second half. This took me by surprise, given how hypnotically entranced I had become by the intense wall of undulating riffs that were constantly surging towards me. I do love a surprise, so it’s another excellent track.
Purification Through Fire, the second single released from the album, delivers an engaging mix of intense and unrelenting, repeating riffing. Scathing blackened vocals fade out and merge into another eerily ritualistic and brief piece, Invociatio Apocalypsis. This then bursts forth into the scathing driver Beyond The Void, delivered at a lethal pace.
Drakonian Gnosis packs a punch but also boasts a mystical quality. A beautifully dark and engaging piece. The extended intro to Path Of The Serpent takes that eerie, mystical feel to the next level before ramping up to an intense driving pace. I do like the deeper vocal elements. They add an extra sinister dimension to the sound, as do the dramatic drops in pace and direction shifting across the second half.
The final brief atmospheric ritualistic piece, Invocatio Resurrectio, heralds the arrival of yet another searingly intense driver, Cult Of Death, followed by Unto Typhon, initially hauntingly reflective but rapidly turning into another lethal driving beast with unnervingly searing screams, ebbing back midway through in pace but not intensity and developing a powerful punch to the delivery alongside a haunting melodic undercurrent returning to that driving pace towards the close.
The final piece, Pandaemonium, was the first single released from the album back in November. Its opening haunting and mystical melody builds and develops into one final intense driving onslaught with a dark melodic undercurrent coursing beneath. It’s a dynamic piece to end on.
The fascinatingly intricate artwork for Revelation is by Néstor Avalos (Dark Funeral, Rotting Christ, Varathron) and depicts a towering image of a victorious Satan upon the throne of a vanquished God.
Revelation was recorded by Yarne Heylen (Carnation, Nervosa) at Project Zero Studio and will be available as a CD, vinyl and digital offering from Bandcamp.
This should be of great interest to fans of Dark Funeral, Gorgoroth, Marduk, Sargeist and Enthroned.