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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Serpentine - La Mano Oculta De La Santa Muerte [BeTon Raw - 2020]

From last year here’s a CDR release of La Mano Oculta De La Santa Muerte- an album that rather rewardingly blends ‘n’ blurs elements of walled noise, atmospheric harsh noise, and creepy drone/ ambient undercurrents. 

La Mano Oculta De La Santa Muerte is the second release from noise duo Serpentine, which brings together Monica Sanchez(Tissa Mawartyassari) and Dan Miñoza( All Those Witches, solo work, and ex-Black Leather Jesus). The album originally appeared back in 2016 as a digital release featuring just four tracks, this edition is put out by Italy’s BeTon Raw, which adds in a bonus live track. It came in an edition of thirty-six copies, with CDR coming presented in glossy black with a monochrome sticker on featuring a praying skeleton saint- surrounded by four black roses. Also featured is a small sticker, and a photocopied mini-poster featuring the skeleton saint, a bone hand and texts. Not sure if any of these are left, but maybe drop by the projects Bandcamp  here to contact them. 

We kick off with the just over three minutes of “Hungry Ghost”- here we find a blend darting ‘n’ lashing low-end bass, cluttering mid-range static judder, and blunt uneasy reverb tones. Next, we have just over ten minutes of “Things Seen” here we have a mixer of tumbling ‘n’ rumbling low end, hiss-to- cluttering mid, and later on atmospheric and uneasy noise.  We have the just shy of twenty-six minutes of “The Hidden Hand” this finds blunt ‘n’ bumbling bass tone baying, meeting rattle ‘n’ forking junk- this is touched ever so off by haunting harmonic tone hover/ judder. The final original released track is just over four and half minutes of “Things Unseen” where we find muffled bass bound ‘n’ rumble, meeting lashing static and buried atmospheric sear.

The final/ new track here is “Black Mirror”- this is a live recording from Knon’s Wine Darts Coffee Art, Houston, Texas inn 2016 and runs just shy of the six-minute mark. It starts off in an almost doom metal feel with a blend of droning 'n' tolling guitar tone, but as it progresses- we get cluttering static feasts, rough and ready guitar neck abuses, and low-key forking. The tracks an interesting/ worthy enough addition to this release, though it doesn’t overly tie into the other four tracks

Seemingly this project has been dormant since 2017- so not sure if they’ll ever be anything new from Serpentine. But La Mano Oculta De La Santa Muerte- is a worthy/ rewarding example of where wall, noise, and drone meet/ meld. 

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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