While still retaining some of the aesthetic elements of 2016’s sleeper-hit Aṇaṅku, Serpent Ascending has adopted a flowing form of riffing on this latest album comparable to some Norwegian black metal. This has both an upside and a downside, in that the longer melodies can reach a greater degree of intensity at times, but there is also less contrast within individual songs.
Like a tribute to the first Burzum album, many of the longer tremolo riffs on this album use a winding recursive pattern that is reminiscent of a tumultuous journey through unknown spaces. These are interspersed with mid-paced, atmospheric sections that draw influence — much like Aṇaṅku — from goth rock and classic heavy metal (think Iron Maiden).
While many of the moments on this release are beautiful, the music has a tendency to get lost in the wistful aesthetic, and not reaching the shocking conclusions found in the best of its influences. In this it resembles Satyricon, another influence heard in parts of the album. It’s unfortunate to see this happen, because in both cases the musicians were competent, and aiming high.
Don’t let this detract you from seeking the album, however. It’s still a very interesting vision of where metal can possibly develop with its emphasis on flowing melodicism, and there are moments that are truly exciting.
Jarno Nurmi – all instruments
1. Growth of the Soil
2. Hyperborean Folklore
3. Stállus Hideout
4. Skaði’s Longing for the Mountains – Njorðr’s Desire of the Sea
Tags: Black Metal, Serpent Ascending
5 thoughts on “Serpent Ascending – Hyperborean Folklore (2022)”
Glad I’m not the only one who noticed the first Burzum influence (which was also somewhat present on Ananku, tbh). I always preferred Hvis Lyset tar Oss, which is objectively the best Black Metal, but I keep coming back to Burzum’s debut more and more often. Now review Sissourlet.
The most evil, barbaric and intense blackened death metal album album ever recorded on tinfoil.
Thanks for the review. This is promising despite the step down from death metal.
Damn, dude. That bass guitar is up FRONT.
Ton Basilieon, what gothic rock are you hearing in here… Sisters of Mercy?
I’m getting a lot of early Graveland and, yes, Iron Maiden.
Largely Sisters of Mercy, yes. Although those elements are toned down compared to the last album.
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