Serpent Ascending – Ananku (2016)

Ananku is a term from the Tamil language describing the otherworldly and awesome power of sublime natural places and objects to overwhelm mankind into submission to their will by merely the perception of them. Jarno Nurmi of Serpent Ascending accomplishes this musically on his album of the same name by composing harmonized heavy and black metal style leads atop a death metal rhythmic basic into occult blackened narratives. Riffs are phrased and repeat to numerologically unfold, revealing profound and novel melodic leads as if the petals of a flower gradually blooming into gnostic truth when bathed in unconquered light.

Serpent Ascending’s rhythm riffing on Ananku is free of the speed metal tropes of the demos compiled on The Enigma Unsettled and more influenced by early Sepultura and Florida death metal rather than the typical Bolt Thrower of most Finnish death metal including Nurmi’s past project, Desecresy. Leads echo how Swedes such as Therion and Sacramentum utilized heavy metal harmonies but Serpent Ascending aims these towards progression rather than merely to accentuate metallic jamming. Pertinent atmospheric elaboration in the fashion of Burzum allows this heavy metal to reveal inner sublimity, crushing chaotic mortal conceptions into otherworldly beauty.

Percussion meanwhile is properly ritualistic and metronomic with fills not merely backing fluctuations in the guitar parts but accentuating the emotive impact thereof. Vocals vary from multi-tracked occult chanted choruses to blackened rasps barking battle commands beckoning listeners to obey the guitars’ occult calls to power.

Ananku is ultimately an adoration of metal’s past heliotropically hailing a risen but oft-forgotten sun still shining Apollonian rays on an enveiled and beguiled Occident. Rooted in traditional soil and watered by blood, Serpent Ascending rises out of the underworld like a lone red poppy blossoming on a battlefield fertilized by the great carnage buried below.

Listen below and purchase Ananku on CD from Jarno Nurmi here.

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24 thoughts on “Serpent Ascending – Ananku (2016)”

  1. Robert says:

    Definitely my most listened to album this year.

      1. Robert says:


  2. dick tip torn due to crusted semen says:

    This sounds like Nile if Nile only used laptops to produce their albums. If the first riffs on “Northern Delirium” and “Male Atavism” aren’t the definition of bonehead dudebro wacken metal I dunno what is. Meanwhile, Darkthrone and Immolation–far past their peak, but releasing much more credible material than this–are beer metal? what the fukc.

    1. SS says:

      That’s only two riffs versus albums full of beer metal.

  3. Glibert V says:

    Tamail language? Very interest….

  4. trystero says:

    Rather than a focus on quality, it’s like there’s two modes now. Snarky mode and intellectual mode. Sometimes one is on, sometimes the other. Either way the music sucks. I’d say it was hurting the brand but I suppose its okay when 99.9% of metal is terrible. Like if there was a top 10 metal of 2016, quite likely 7-9 of the releases mentioned would be bad and most of those would be outright garbage, not just “mediocre”.

    It’s now at the point where if there are positive words said about an album on DMU, it doesn’t mean anything at all. Unless it says Brett Stevens in the author field, then it’s a coinflip.

    As an aside, some dudes had been hyping this band Zealotry. Boy what a load of crap that was. Soporific WANK of the worst kind. The kind of stuff that feels twice as long as it is per song. No redeeming musical value. Worse than a simple pop song. This kind of stuff is like someone taking a beautiful predatory mammal, skinning it, mounting the skin on a crude puppet and shaking the strings around. Hey look! Fur, claws, teeth, it’s all there and it’s all working together! Great stuff! Serpent Ascending is in similar territory.

    1. I'd Vote For Clinton Amongst all Current Candidates says:

      trystero says:
      December 4, 2016 at 7:37 am
      Kaeck is a good barometer for taste. Anyone who likes it can safely be written off.


      Author: Brett Stevens

      1. trystero says:

        I dont think he liked it.

        1. I'd Vote For Clinton Amongst all Current Candidates says:

          I don’t think you are being honest.

    2. dick tip torn due to crusted semen says:

      Nice, you effectively put to words what bugs me about that band.

      I used to have their main aongwriter on my lastfm friend list (lol) and it’s frustraitng because he definitely “gets” death metal, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to being able to make good death metal.

    3. Belisario says:

      Sure, all metal albums from 2016 are bad. Actually, pretty much everything in the last fifteen years also sucks. Only some tiny fraction of the stuff from the nineties is ok, although not even that is even really that good, when you think about it…

      1. trystero says:

        Help me out with what you are thinking there because this place and all of us are running on the inertia of that music. I havr trouble thinking of stuff that is greater and I dont just mean music.

        1. Belisario says:

          I was just being ironic. Metal hasn’t been a thriving genre for a good while, but that’s not something any individual can change by mere desire or complaint. It may be as well doomed to be like this forever, just like any other genre past its prime. Nonetheless, metal has been my favourite music genre for many years now, so for my part I’ll stick to the 1 or 4 or 7 worthy albums of this year, which are not really a necessary addition but will always be welcome, and happily forget about the rest. If that falls short for you, just jump to other genres or try different stuff, like literature or movies… life is so short you won’t be able to wear everything out.

          By the way, Ananku is pleasant but not great, yet I think the band has potential for a deeper and more distinct follow-up.

  5. Parasite says:

    Why the fuck do any of you knobs give a shit about the health of the metal “scene” and all these new bands when this album still exists and reaps souls to this day.


    1. Rainer Weikusat says:

      Why the fuck do any of you knobs give a shit about the health of the metal “scene” and all these new bands

      Because we can’t all be camouflaged Yes! (just say no) fans sitting on the same high horse since 197forgotthat.

  6. Rental Spectrometrist says:

    This is the 4th review of this record of this record that y’all have posted!
    Lance Viggiano, Antoine Rudrick, a Sadistic Metal Review, and now D. Maarat.

    Just cut to the chase and have Brett Prozak Stevens lay waste.

    1. Brett Stevens wrote the SMR, which was a positive review.

  7. BlackPhillip says:

    I never agreed with the negativity associated with this record. It’s one of the most listened to I’ve purchased this year.

  8. This is terrible, like all the rest of it

  9. 2016 = shitty metal all year says:

    This album is bad.

  10. Can you survive the blitzkrieg says:

    I think there was good shit this year but I’d have to look at the dates, I don’t keep up. Anyways it’s been a fucking ride, from 2010 to now. I don’t think there’s much more to get from here, thank ye all.

  11. 2016 = shitty metal all year says:

    This review needs to be… “reconsidered”. The atmospheric parts come off as post-rock guitar effects laid over the standard “extreme modern metal” to no effect greater than itself. The Florida death metal comparison seems off unless you think Killing Addiction without the tremolo picking and turned “urban” (i.e. mid 90’s Sepultura) could still be considered death metal. The “offset metallic jamming” remark seems off base considering at the end of the day old Therion on Symphony Masses wrote songs using “traditional” elements but would still have a personality and resolve itself logically. As someone argued above, the “beer metal” (really mid 90’s Sepultura nu-rock) doesn’t give way to anything great, just transitions to unrelated parts that mean nothing in the end.

    This is could be thrown in the same pile that Zealotry, Steve “bassnectar guy is my friend” bands, and all that Netherlands black metal which came out in recent years hyped here for some unknown reason.

    2016 = more nails in metal’s coffin, only now they’re pink and have AIDS ribbons on them.

  12. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Hmm … Burzum is magic. And this is a dead, black cheese.

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