The new album by Melbourne natives Holy Serpent – their third – could likely be their defining moment. Seemingly bottomless in its relentless heft, with billowing and suffocating
riffs leading glistening melodies, it’s the sound of a band that has locked on to something unique. Endless – the album in question – is fully conceptualised throughout, encapsulating an oceanic theme from the lyrics and art, even to the very structure of the sounds themselves.
“Lyrically, it’s heavily influenced by the ocean,” explains vocalist/guitarist Scott Penberthy. “Lots of ocean metaphors and imagery was used. Also the title of the album Endless, is an
homage to the ocean: Its mystery, power and its ability to give and take life.”
The album loosely follows the lyrical theme of two lovers, oceans apart, waiting for each other on the shores of eternity. Their love is so strong, they eventually walk into the water, ending their
lives to be together in the afterlife. Fitting to these themes, the band experiments with sound throughout the album, such as layering in a wobbly synth sound reminiscent of tape push and pull, mixed just loud enough to blend with the instruments. “It’s sort of a haunting sound which gives the album an ebb and flow, much like an ocean’s current or tide,” Penberthy says.
The six song, forty minute album finds Penberthy, guitarist Nick Donoughue, bassist Dave Bartlett and drummer Lance Leembruggen expanding their melodic hooks while simultaneously taking listeners on a rigorous journey. It was written over the course of two months, then recorded in seclusion at Beveridge Road Recording Studios near Australia’s beautiful Dandenong Ranges with head engineer Marc Russo and mixed by Mike Deslandes. Surrounding themselves with nature and no distractions allowed the band to focus on every detail of the album as a coherent whole.
In the time since their self-titled RidingEasy debut in mid-2015, Melbourne, Australia’s Holy Serpent have gained a lot of attention for their rather punk version of heavy psych and metal. Their 2016 skate-metal leaning album Temples further defined their more experimental blend of early Soundgarden, Saint Vitus and Kyuss that eschews simplistic seventes-worship in favour of shimmering sonics and uncommon production techniques. Nonetheless, Endless is like all of the band’s earliest visions fully realised and honed into an album beyond easy classification.
Starting with the slow, exaggeratedly compressed 4/4 drum lead in to Lord Deceptor — something of a hi-dive anticipation before we plunge headlong into the ensuing depths — crushing and crackling guitars burst in as Penberthy sings in low baritone, “ocean grave, carry me upon a wave/I’m hypnotised in prophecy, what Is left for you and me?”
Harmonies drift in and out of the main motif as it sways along into the tempest of Into The Fire. Here, a churning riff gathers intensity as the rhythm section builds to a lurching 3/4 time. Reverb-soaked vocals sing, “where the ocean meets the sand, I’ll be waiting, I’ll be waiting there.” Elsewhere, on For No One, impossibly low drop-tuned guitars slink along as the music swells with space rock abandon. Album closer, Marijuana Trench is a play on the Mariana trench, the deepest place on earth. Appropriately, the song plunges from gently strummed acoustic guitar into a tsunami crest that pulls the listener under the dark and enveloping weight of sound as Penberthy’s soothing vocals seem to ease us into the end, subsumed in the album’s powerful allure.
Endless is out now.
I BUILT THE SKY
Staying In Melbourne, progressive instrumental project I Built The Sky will release their third album, The Zenith Rise, on November 1.
This week saw the release of new single, Light Pillars, the video for which you can peruse below!
I Built The Sky is led by guitar wizard Rohan ‘Ro Han’ Stevenson and has been slowly climbing the ranks of the progressive shred guitar community for some time now with high level supports, headlining slots and international praise for their previous releases all going towards building an impressive global fanbase.
The new album features a few upgrades from previous releases with some impressive artwork courtesy of artist Pat Fox who has worked with artists such as Northlane and The Amity Affliction and many more, and the contribution of ARIA nominated producer and mixer Forrester Savell who has been involved in a mixing and mastering capacity. The new additions to the album see’s Rohan’s music achieve a new level of presentation and sonic perfection to go along with the insanity of the guitar riffs, musicality and well crafted songs.
I Built The Sky features live members Sam Tan and Rob Brens who have been working along with Rohan to create a full band with an impressive performance resume to date. Last year the trio toured Europe, UK and headlined two shows in New Zealand which saw raving reviews from fans and media alike.
2020 will no doubt see more international shows across UK and Europe as Rohan has now signed with highly reputable booking agency Atonal Agency (Animals As Leaders, Intervals, Plini, Sikth, Monuments)
Canberran metallers Mental Cavity have this week announced an imminent new aural assault – their upcoming new album Neuro Siege – which will arrive on Friday December 6th (just in time for my birthday! – hopeful Ed) – through Brilliant Emperor Records.
Alongside that – the Canberra crew are also releasing the title track of the record as a single, which is also available now. Single Neuro Siege is available on all digital platforms and streaming outlets, and it comes along with a biting videoclip, filmed and edited by Wilson Bambrick – watch it below!
They will also find themselves supporting Eyehategod and Black Rheno on the Canberra leg of their tour on the 11th November!
Neuro Siege is Mental Cavity’s second full length album. After the release of 2017’s, Aneurysm (which placed at number seven on Sentinel Daily‘s top ten Australian albums of that year), Mental Cavity have continued to grow and push further out of the shadow of their slumbering musical-brethren I Exist. Neuro Siege sees Mental Cavity continue to explore the possibilities of smashing abrasive speed-driven death metal riffing, together with tar-laden sludge passages and a clear tip of the hat to bands such as Autopsy, Tragedy, Morbid Angel and Crowbar.
Mental Cavity is Aaron Osborne on vocals and guitar, Alex Young on vocals and bass, Rohan Todd on guitar and Simon Murphy on drums.
Working once again with producer Mike Deslandes (YLVA, Pagan, Tropical Fuck Storm) to achieve absolute tonal chaos, Neuro Siege was recorded in remote rural New South Wales to fully immerse the band in the riff and produce the finest collection of riffs to thump your eardrums to.
That’s it for volume IV of Terror Australis, though of course no roundup of the week’s activities in Australian rock and metal would be complete without a mention at the sad passing of Aussie thrash progenitor Peter Hobbs, who died this week at the plainly-too-young-age of fifty eight. His work under the Hobbs’ Angel of Death banner showed a thentofore unsuspecting world that there were entities in the Antipodes who could quite clearly mix with the best the US and German thrash scenes had to offer; Indeed our own resident ageing thrasher Mick Stronge adds that “had Hobbs been a German or an American it’s safe to say his career trajectory may have been slightly more celebrated, though of course his rough house Aussie mystique would have been sacrificed. But it remains a happy memory of mine to have been able to witness his first London show in what seems another lifetime… Rock In Perpetuity!”
There’s little more to be added, sadly, so we’ll leave you all this week with a bit of old school thrash to celebrate the great man with…