The times, they are a-changin’. As humanity swipes, clicks and shuffles its feet further into Millenium #3, a quick glance away from the phone (it’s scary, but I know you can do it!) reveals to us an ever-changing reality, the likes of which the spirits of humanity past would scarcely recognize. Behold, a world where there are more gender options than prog sub-genres, dolphins are people, and crunk-core is a thing. The world has moved on, woe Discordia, and every day sees more and more elements of the past being phased out of existence. Goodbye, Pogs. Farewell, AIM. RIP Nu-Metal (no, seriously, please rest). The sands of time are a cruel invading force, whatever will they snatch up next? Chile’s Thy Serpent’s Cult may be bowing out of the fight after nine years of thrashing to death, but their answer, given in their swan scream album Supremacy of Chaos, remains as trve and timeless as ever: Not our fucking death metal.
From the fuck-your-feelings album art, such titular gems as “Pedophiliac Priest” or “Apocalyptic Horse of War,” to the Slayer-esque album title, Supremacy offers neither pretense nor apology for its old-school death ways. Indeed, the album opens with a few moments of ominous sound effects and then it’s nothing but nineties-style brutal death for the next 37 minutes. Shredtastic leads, neck-breaking drums, and invocations of the Devil abound, eschewing all modern trends and tones to construct a living, growling monument to the glory days of the genre. Here at Thy Serpent’s Cult’s Home for Wayward Carcass Fans, you never have to worry about fancy digital effects or progressive bloat, just riffs, solos and Satan. Frenzied chugging rhythms, a punchy bass, and hateful growls and gurgles take us back to the days of honest-to-Satan death metal. You know, all that stuff that never gets old…
…or does it? Keeping a 20+ years-old sub-genre frozen in time can be tough to do without rendering the sound downright stale, and there are more than a few moments throughout Supremacy that might find listeners scratching their metal heads and wondering where they heard that riff before. Songs like “Goddess of Lust” and “Pedophiliac Priest” certainly kick their fair share of ass, but it’s all ass that’s been previously kicked to Hell and back by the likes of Carcass, Morbid Angel, and Cannibal Corpse. Everything sounds just as evil and aggressive as you would expect from a band emulating such hallowed heroes of hateful heaviness, and therein lies the dividing line between those who will and will not join the Cult: Supremacy sounds the way you expect it to because you can expect it to sound a certain way, being that it’s a very straightforward attempt to simply keep the genre alive, rather than expounding upon anything at all. Guitarist JC noodles and chugs along to vocalist Hatred’s throatier take on Nathan Explosion, high-gain guitar solos get accentuated by bassist Black Dwarf as Strife pummels it all forward on the skins, and after roughly 40 minutes we arrive at our destination: division. Where some will hear idol worship and a sonic tribute to days long gone, others will hear unambitious mimicry and a distinct lack of innovation, but which opinion is right?
The answer, of course, is ‘mine’ and it is such: subjectivity, yo. I, for one, am not in any particularly great need of a ‘new’ old-school death metal album, as I find the sound to be largely repetitive now that everybody and their mother has been doing it for a few decades. That said, Thy Serpent’s Cult know exactly what they’re about and don’t pretend that they’re anything they’re not, and if you love any of the bands mentioned above then you will love this. Thy Serpent’s Cult dedicated 9 years to keeping the dream of the nineties death metal scene alive and well, and though this is to be their last album together, they’ve managed to craft something which has by rights already stood the test of time. Maybe it’s not for you, listening to Deafheaven and Snapchat-ing selfies in your shiny new Ray Bans, but you there, with your wallet-chain wrapped around the neck of said Deafhipster as your ever-fading Butchered at Birth cassette drowns out their screams… this one’s for you.
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Ordo MCM Records
Websites: Too Serpent Kvlt for Interwebz
Releases Worldwide: October 23rd, 2017