Review Summary: The Veritable Red Dragon is rising.Erotomysticism
has a lot of the same demented, magical chemistry with me that Cultes Des Ghoules did with Henbane
, just not in the exact same way. Henbane
stoked the flames of 80s first wave black metal with a distinctly ritualized delivery that was all their own. Serpent Noir, by contrast, run away with this approach to a degree (particularly the ritual aspects) but with an even more distinct result. For one, they straddle the line with death and doom metal a bit more, and this thing truly oozes
the occult. In fact, Erotomysticism
often feels like a ritual rather than just a metal album. There always seemed to be something drifting on the outside fringes of a track that calls to mind images of black magic or ancient texts read by candlelight. Thumping riffs and mid paced rhythms are the vessels that carry these haunting melodies to the fruition required to achieve this effect. Strange, distant chants often give the impression of a track being more a hymn than an actual song. It’s evident from the interviews done with the band to the music itself that Serpent Noir have given themselves over entirely to the idea of making true conceptual occult black metal. And for what it’s worth, it pays off.
Serpent Noir don’t really feel the need to speed through their songs. Sure, they have their blazing moments, but much of the album is a slow burning affair. They often seem to favor slow tempos and doomy riffs over thundering tremolos. “Desert of Azazel”, for instance, is a riff fest sure to please anyone looking for something a bit more orthodox. Furthermore, several tracks (see “Ayahuasca” and “The Initiatrice of A’arab Zaraq”) are given over primarily to engulfing ambiance. It doesn’t feel like they need to be speed demons anyway, considering how well these slower guitar passages suit their ritual tendencies. In any case, Erotomysticism
moves along just fine as the ominous, chilling extreme metal it is.
If their music bleeds the occult, then delving into their lyrics and background themes somehow uncovers an even deeper vein in all things involving the Left Hand Path. The name itself (originally Dragon Noir) is related to the Dragon Rouge, an order revolving around the occult. Curiously enough, its founder, Thomas Karlsson, wrote all the lyrics for Erotomysticism
. Reading interviews with the band, you can see just how deeply they take these matters to heart. Frankly, it’s off putting to see them take it so seriously, but the results are worth it. Erotomysticism
is a mystical whirlwind of blackened extreme metal married to dense occult atmospheres. It’s not for everyone, just like the people who made it, but it’s an engrossing and impressionable experience nonetheless.