Bringing together two opposing sides of the current black metal trend, Opus Serpens pits Philadelphia’s Ashencult against Sweden’s Mephorash and while both bands revel in the darkness and the occult, their approaches differ in both scope and sound. Ashencult are a force of fast, thrashy moments and Mephorash dabble in more symphonic and powerful nuances.
They’re both pretty into Satan though. AVE.
Ashencult’s offering, “My Tenth Death” is a spry and atmospheric cut of towering USBM. Taking a subtle route into the beginnings of the song, Ashencult utilise unknown sounds to build dread before a huge guitar strike cuts through the shadows to lead the track into deeply melodic and possessive blackness. A furious pace abounds and the band writhe in a wonderful joy that’s almost ecstatic with the chaos they’ve created. Vocalist A (yeah, they’re one of those bands), strives for total annhiliation throughout his performance and the complete belief in the words flows from him in waves of utter respect. “My Tenth Death” ends how it began and Ashencult continue to prove that they are the future of the American sound.
Mephorash channel the spiritual essence of darkness with “Atramentous Ungod Suspect” and the inclusion of Acherontas V. Priest (of Acherontas, duh) on guest vocals lends the piece a feeling of next level unholiness. The initial steps of the track are terrifically overblown and the piece starts life as a homage to horror films of old, all organs and choral vocals, before the classic Swedish sound permeates the clouds and Mephorash command attention with slightly hidden bellows that soon become high rasps and roars. Synth-led sections add a new dimension of chanted vocal in order to lift Mephorash into new circles of hell and Acherontas V. Priest pushes his ritualistic vibrations into sight which allows the band to strike an all-knowing presence over proceedings. Mephorash invoke a dark and elemental reality and as such they should be watched closely.
Opus Serpens can be ordered from Unholy Anarchy or streamed on their bandcamp.