By Dr. Abner Mality

I don’t know if any underground metal label finds buried treasure better than I, Voidhanger. They sniff out unique acts the way a pig sniffs for truffles. Even their misfires (and there are a few) are at least interesting failures. Now they’ve journeyed to Finland and discovered this extremely promising one-man death metal act.

Serpent Ascending is the sole creation of one Jarno Nurmi, who has done time in bands like Slugathor, Nerlich and Desecresy. The only way this sounds like a one-man band is the occasional flatness of what has to be digital drumming. Otherwise, Serpent Ascending creates a very mystical form of death metal that is difficult to compare to any other band. The heaviness and raw aggression is certainly present (especially on the blistering concluding track “Male Atavism”) but there is a lot of structure and otherworldly melody to it. Semi-Oriental song structures and melodic dissonance give everything a ritualistic atmosphere. The vocal are often chanted as if by priests, particularly on “Northern Delirium” and “Karelides”. On every tune, there is a feeling like you are present at the summoning of a demonic entity.

Better yet, the songs are all of reasonable length and devoid of needless frills. The album speeds by and you can bang your head to most of it while contemplating the Outer Dark. Nurmi has whipped up something special with “Ananku”…one of the most distinct death metal albums of 2016. I, Voidhanger strikes again!