And once again, the old school curmudgeons that stalk the internet’s various dank and lifeless holes are rewarding old school sensibility and image.
Forgettable and basic, Heretical Serpent Cult is as generic and lifeless as the albums title. On one hand we have Nuclearhammer, who unabashedly steal ideas from Blasphemy and Archgoat at every turn. Devoid of any personality or creativity, Nuclearhammer blast through the first half of this split like a barely functioning jackhammer, beating on the eardrums without any reward for your endurance. The band even throw a Taxi Driver sample at you on the opening track “Storms of Wrath,” which while adding a certain irony to the bands utter lack of creativity, is just as generic as the bands plagiarized and lifeless sound.
Begrime Exemious make an even worse impression. While Nuclearhammer might be pointless, they are at least tight and nasty. Begrime Exemious can’t even play as a band: sloppy, listless old-schoolish Death Metal that lacks any attitude or real brutality. Clearly influenced by early Floridian Death Metal, Begrime Exemious are a scattershot and inorganic mix of Obituary, Morbid Angel and Deicide. Everything about Begrime Exemious’ side of the split is offensive to the ear and so poorly played, it is a wonder the band were ever allowed to record for any label. No doubt the fact the band are perceived as “old-school” is likely the bands only leg to stand on.
Listening to Heretical Serpent Cult has me wondering about the state of Death and Black Metal in 2011: is creativity and originality truly dead? Does all it take to make a record nowadays is your ability imitate older bands that are exponentially better? I understand that everything has already been done, and I also get that originality is not always good. I can get behind blatant worship as well as anybody(I have listened to Putrevore’s Morphed in Deathbreath an ungodly number of times), but what I cannot get behind is a total lack of personality. Heretic Snake Cult has about as much personality as Kobe Bryant on Valium. A truly horrifying, and boring, vision
EDIT: Well, I knew it would happen eventually. I made a mistake, important enough to bare mentioning: this split features four covers, three by Nuclearhammer(three original tracks) and one from Begrime Exemious(five original tracks). I stand by everything I wrote in this review 100%, but it was pretty dumb for me to forget to mention that the split featured covers. Rather than merely edit the review and try and cover up the mistake, I am gonna own up to it with this edit, as a reminder of my hubris... or whatever.
You can find an edited version of this review on Metal-Archives.