Band: HUMAN SERPENT
Title: Heirlooms Eternal
Label: The Scars of Millions Proselytism
Style: Black Metal
Through its unmistakable and unique sound, the Hellenic black metal scene is known to metal listeners all over the world as being one of the strongest and most distinctive black metal scenes out there. With it having brought forth many big names in international black metal music, such as Rotting Christ, Varathron, Necromantia or Thou Art Lord, the thought of a child of this scene surpassing its predecessors through its boundless talent and creativity is almost unimaginable. Yet, such a child – and, maybe, through this band’s various influences - a child of the entire world of black metal, has risen and is continuing to grow, with every album, becoming more and more known and having, in our opinion, already surpassed in will, the biggest names of the Hellenic scene. Yes, we believe that, currently, not only are Human Serpent the best Greek black metal band, but they are also one of the best black metal bands out there, being very comparable, in the quality of their music, to big names such as Gorgoroth, Darkthrone, Dissection or Dark Funeral.
First, a few words on this partially hidden gem of the Hellenic scene. Human Serpent are a black metal band from Lamia, Central Greece, founded in 2012. Having been a duo for a long time – with X. handling the vocals, guitars and bass and I. handling the drumming duties, they were joined, starting with 2020, by 23, who plays bass on their most recent album and who has, starting with the release of their most recent album, become a permanent member of the band.
So far, Human Serpent have released four full length albums, three splits, two EPs, one demo and one compilation, and, if you haven’t already listened to their discography, you have to trust us that each of their releases is as strong as steel.
After ,,For I, the Misanthropist’’ – their third full length album released in 2018, the standards this band had set for themselves were so high, that it was almost impossible to believe they could conjure something which could rise to those standards, let alone surpass them.
Yet, the impossible happened, and exactly three years after the release of ,,For I, the Misanthropist’’, on the 30th of January, 2021, ,,Heirlooms Eternal’’, the fourth full length of Human Serpent, was released, breaking all the doubts – if anyone still had any – that Human Serpent could have any competition among the Hellenic BM scene.
The quality of this album is purely BM in all aspects – remarkable musicianship, misanthropic songwriting, dark production, and unsettling album art.
But the most important thing of all is the band’s ideology, an ideology which is very hard to find nowadays, reminding very much of the beginnings of black metal, when artists were in a perpetual quest for themselves and for the truth. Staying true to yourself and to what you believe in, always seeking the truth, bare from any form of hypocrisy or selfishness, is the true soul of this band, it’s who they are inside and outside the studio. Because of this, they choose not to reveal their identities, their faces or their names, letting their music do the talking for them.
In the same style as their previous releases, but maybe even better, in all aspects, than them, ,,Heirlooms Eternal” brings forth a rawness filled with aggression and hatred, encircled in an ever-surprising melodicity. Lacking any trace of hypocrisy, very straight to the point, yet dressed in ever changing shades of very diverse human emotions – desperation, bitterness, regret, nostalgia, sadness or pain, this album is, in the words of the band, ,,the darkest and the most experiential’’ of the all the albums they have released so far, ,,a clear reflection of the sick individuality that infects all of us, a sick twisted reality where the tide of alternating feelings and states of mind eats us from inside out! A reflection of the cold grimness, both in the inside and the outside’’.
To our understanding, this album is, just like their entire discography and their beliefs, a perpetual search for the truth, a permanent longing for oneself and an eternal protest against the selfishness, falsity and hypocrisy that surrounds us all.
Blending in a very original manner Greek and English lyrics, every verse is pure poetry. Lyrics such as ,,I am the deepest form of the deep/ I am the turmoil of the guilt/ I am the last wish of the sick/ I am the Mind which has no peace’’ need no further explanation, they have to be felt, just like poetry and just like the very soul of their deep music. If you translate the Greek lyrics, if you pay attention to the waves of emotion embroidered in every riff, in every shriek, you will come to understand the beautiful soul of the hidden and so wise Human Serpent.
Just like with their previous releases, the cover of ,,Heirlooms Eternal” has, also, blurred faces, as, according to the band, ,,the blurred faces in our cover arts highlight the vanity and the unpalatability of our empty human existence’’.
Eight tracks and about 40 minutes of pure musical and verbal poetry, excellent musicianship and production make this album a perfect 10 in our eyes and, for sure, one of the releases that will always remain in the history of black metal. Luckily, with this new release, we have the confirmation that this band is finally starting to gain the recognition it deserves – thousands of fans listen to their music, their merchandise is quickly sold out, and ,,Heirlooms Eternal” is receiving only the most enthusiastic reviews.
Human Serpent is much more than just music. It is an entire philosophy and a way of life. We will not be surprised to see this band headlining big festivals, pretty soon. Until then, if you are not already familiar with this magnificent band, give them a listen, you will become forever captive in their fascinating world!
Reviewed by Silvia and Bryant Shelby