The Hellenic misanthropic force, HUMAN SERPENT, has steadily risen up the metal ranks with each release, and now they’ve unleashed their fourth full-length album titled Heirlooms Eternal. This release undoubtedly reinforces the band’s upward trend, and they’ve also described it as “the darkest and most experiential” and “most aggressive, soul-suffocating and mind-destructive album.“ These fit the sound and energy expressed on Heirlooms Eternal, an album that delivers a powerful and expanded continuation of the pure nihilistic Black Metal HUMAN SERPENT are known for.
Anguish and hateful intent are immediately conveyed through the initial agonizing scream on “A Thousand Limbos of Mind,” and X’s unique vocal delivery continues projecting this contemptuous energy alongside raw tremolo melodies. There are spacey hook effects with pinch harmonics in these multi-layered riffs, and moments where the song breaks down into something like a thrashy gallop. These elements form the main compositional structure of the songs, and intricate tremolo progressions continue on “Maze of Reminiscence” while the melancholy goes further with bits of clean guitar interspersed within a desolate wall of riffing. This song ends by stripping down to its core of bass guitar and rhythmic double bass drumming. A sense of writhing in despair comes through the vocals and melodies on “Fuck Normality” and the title track, with the latter utilizing slower sections that allow individual notes to stand out in the riff.
The first part of “Memories are Rooms of Pain” is consistent with the preceding songs, but then it takes a gloomy turn with slow arpeggiated riffs and piano keys. The anguish intensifies when vocals enter to compliment this dark melody as it builds, and the pounding double bass, solo effect, and clean guitars that follow easily make this a standout track. “Vomiting the Herds” contrasts this with more groove and a hook that dissipates with the song’s end, while a breakdown on “The Diffusion of Chaos” is particularly memorable for its arpeggiations, pinch harmonics, and other readily audible notes, as if you can hear the picking of every fretted string. The furious energy culminates on “Mirrors,” a final track that brings all the songwriting elements together into its own conclusive melody. Its hook effects and clean guitars give lasting impact to the album’s closure.
The despair and hatred projected through the music and vocal delivery is also matched lyrically. Those in English at least show “a physical manifestation of a life-walking private hell” to be an accurate summary of the album’s overall concept. “A Thousand Limbos of Mind” describes falling “into nothingness, the utter decay” and “into endless and spaceless pain.” There are many references to mental torment, self-destruction, and suicide scattered throughout, and nihilism is openly displayed on “Memories are Rooms of Pain” with “thoughts suffocate me, nothing has value to me” and “nothing means anything.” This song also observes that “only suffering remains in this world,” and expresses disgust for humanity with “I am loathe with you all, I hate you with every meaning of word.” The title track seems to address the abundance of wasted life roaming the earth by asking “how do you accept to be dead in your own life?” The bitterness is unrelenting, but at least a contentment with these perceptions could be suggested with “I am the unbeliever, I have my own world” on “Fuck Normality.”
HUMAN SERPENT has created another merciless musical expression of hatred, pain, and disgust. Their albums already make for perfect outlets when life’s bullshit seems overwhelming, but Heirlooms Eternal takes this energy to the next level. The use of piano keys and other prevalent elements like spacey hooks, pinch harmonics, and clean guitars show HUMAN SERPENT aims to expand their sound along with their trademark primeval aggression. Heirlooms Eternal is a welcome Black Metal offering for 2021, and I’m anxious to hear how HUMAN SERPENT will further their enraged contempt on becoming releases.