Serpents’ eleven minute self-titled demo comes from three black masked Swedes who’ve practically weaponized black metal with their debut. At only two tracks and an (exceptional) outro, it’s quality over quantity as each of these songs drives relentlessly to the heart and keeps on going, shattering the spine then exiting, dragging your vitals deep into the bleeding empyrean. “Stars of Dying Light” skewers with some kind of fiery impalement. “A World of Stillborns” is anthemic and undeniable, i.e. suicide by headbanging. “Kindla” curtains the demo so perfectly that only an uncultured swine would dare ask, “What, that’s it?” All this together makes for a demo we’re genuinely, sadistically delighted to premiere here on Demo:listen.
Because we found ourselves equally blown apart by Serpents, and piqued by the scant information surrounding the band themselves, we, naturally, reached out to Serpents, to see what—if anything—we could gather about them and their demo . . .
“I formed the band in my head after a trip to the forest sometime in January this year,” says O, Serpents’ founding member. “I wrote half [of] ‘A World of Stillborns’ as soon as I got home. Instead of letting it lead to nothing (as usual) I decided to try to write a couple of songs. So I did. Then I approached S, asking him to handle the drums. I soon realised it would be a horrible idea to try to do vocals myself. . . . I found H on social media. We started talking and writing lyrics together online. The day we recorded the vocals were the first (and only so far) time we ever met. H lives a few hours away, so he drove down, we shook hands, and five minutes later we were recording and discussing vocal parts and arrangements. I think we found each other really fast. . . . So every member has, or has had previous bands. But we never played together. We have never even rehearsed.”
Such intelligence is, somehow at once mysterious and demystifying. Yet for black metal, it makes perfect sense, and even augments the misanthropical appeal of a band like Serpents.
O continues, discussing what inspired him musically-speaking to form Serpents.
“My inspiration for this project was Arckanum, and maybe some old Darkthrone. But being the least BM guy in the band, it was interesting to see how things progressed when H and S made their mark[s] on the songs. So Arckanum might have been the inspiration, even though we don’t sound anything like him.”
As for the demo itself, O says the songs “were written in the winter of 2017, and then recorded straight away.”
Both “Stars of Dying Light” and “A World of Stillborns,” O expresses, rather laconically, deal with “the extinction of mankind.”
O goes on to divulge how Serpents came together:
“The drums were recorded in the rehearsal room, to a click track and some scratch guitar tracks. Vocals were done in the rehearsal as well. Guitars and bass were done in A Yellow Brick Home Studio. We did it ourselves, with some help from a friend. Really relaxed and DIY-style.”
O admits that the final product “differs a bit” from his original expectations for the project.
“Like mentioned earlier, I wrote the songs with Arckanum in mind,” O says. “But first the riffs didn’t sound like him, and then we added some blast beats on ‘Stars…’ and finally we abandoned the Arckanum ‘thing’ totally in the mixing process. So yeah… it differs from my first vision. But I don’t mean that in a negative way. ‘Kindla’ is just a homage to the mighty guitar interludes of Dissection’s Somberlain.”
Let O be humble. It’ll only make the next release that much deadlier. And, in the meantime, let us be greedy about some physical manifestations obtainment.
“First of all. This demo will be released on cassette by Fólkvangr Records. 100 hand numbered copies. 50 black tapes, 50 white.” O continues: “Then Ancient Records releases it on a single sided 12 inch vinyl. 250 hand numbered copies with a different cover.
All these releases, O says: “Will be sold through some distros and our Bandcamp.”
Serpents will drop imminently on cassette next Friday via Fólkvangr.
Serpents are already at work on a follow up EP, due to strike “early” next year.