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Blood of Serpents have undergone a considerable metamorphosis since the release of their debut full-length Black Dawn. Having shed their previous thrashing death metal leanings (and with an updated lineup), the band re-emerge with a renewed, blackened zeal in their follow-up album Sulphur Sovereign. Explore their latest work with our exclusive premiere, streaming below.

Guitarists Fredrik Nilsson and Kristian Roupe have carried the melodic cues of Black Dawn into the band’s contemporary incarnation -- though the black metal focus is new, enough common threads exist so as to maintain continuity between the two releases. Bassist Benny Åkeson returns as well, now paired with new drummer Christoffer Andersson, an uncompromising juggernaut whose staggeringly immaculate performance sustains the band’s savagery.

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Railing atop the furor is new vocalist Thomas Clifford. In comparison to his work on Throne of Heresy’s 2017 album Decameron, Clifford here pushes his vocals into higher and thinner registers, while still employing his trademark burly snarl elsewhere on Sulphur Sovereign. For Blood of Serpents, Clifford’s vocal assault is a core component of their barbarous countenance.

When Blood of Serpents rage at their fiercest, which they do for nearly all of the album’s duration, the tumult is of incredible intensity. Though Nilsson and Roupe inject plenty of melody with their hyperactive lead lines, the result is far from soothing. These melodies burrow into the brain as the whining drills of a demented surgeon, boring deep within in pursuit of assuredly sinister aims. The fidgety progressions, along with Andersson’s inexhaustible reservoir of energy, further exacerbate the band’s aesthetic of annihilation.

The end result is utter enervation, as though the listener were themselves a participant in the band’s sadistic carnival of devastation. Every aspect of the songwriting contributes to a listening experience akin to facing down an oncoming hail of bullets. Even in the album’s calmer moments -- which, while rare, are present -- Blood of Serpents can never truly relax. Whether it be a lone tremolo lead, quiet flickers of the high-hat, or distant howls, someone always stirs in the darkness.

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Blood of Serpents are releasing Sulphur Sovereign with Non Serviam Records on September 25th. Head to Bandcamp to pre-order the album in digital format (for €1!) or on CD.

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