Serpentine Path - Emanations [Relapse - 2014]NYC's Serpentine Path is, as Relapse Records calls them, a "doom super group." Consisting of members of Electric Wizard, Unearthly Trance, and Ramesses, their claim to the title is definitely warranted. However, output trumps pedigree, so does Serpentine Path have the chops to remain "super?"
Emanations is the second album from Serpentine Path and Relapse Records. Consisting of seven four to eight minute tracks, this album has enough time to do what it sets out to do, but not enough to make you curse yourself for putting it on. As with most doom, the guitars are heavy and the riffs are slow and deliberate. Ryan Lipynsky's growled vocals are mean and low, and fit the music very well. Although harsh, there is still clarity, and the music definitely benefits from it. Serpentine Path avoids the current trend of mixing doom with any every other style of metal at hand. Slow, head nodding grooves take shape and make their presence known on sheer force and stubbornness alone. Thickness and speed aside, the songs are solid and well executed, and there is no denying the talent of the members of this band.
Although very talented, there is still something missing from this album. Maybe I've become too accustomed to the more experimental types of doom out there, but Emanations seems a bit too simple. If someone had told me this was a two piece, I would've believed them. There is far too much vacant space in this recording for five guys. Maybe that's the appeal for some, to have pure, slow, predictable doom. Maybe I've been spoiled by discovering HALO fifteen or so years ago. Whatever the issue, Emanations is good, but it doesn't quite hit the mark with me.
Fans of traditional doom should check out Serpentine Path's Emanations. It's well done for its approach, and will most likely please most doom fans. Relapse (the ultimate in bombast) calls them "one of the heaviest bands on the planet today!" It's heavy, yeah, but you're likely to have a handful of heavier albums in your collection. If you're not looking for anything groundbreaking, go for it, 'cause despite my "meh" reaction to it, it's pretty solid.Paul Casey