Human Serpent - For I, the Misanthropist - (9/10)
Published on February 16, 2018
We Are Everything. We Are Nothing.
Though they’ve been around for a scant five years, Greece’s Human Serpent quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the country’s elite metal bands. Armed with a handful of splits, a demo, and two impeccable full length albums, the duo of drummer I. and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist X. return with their latest effort of nihilistic and misanthropic anthems, the aptly titled For I, the Misanthropist. The nine track, thirty-six minute album is an homage to darkness, denial, and despair; with the fantastically bleak cover art by Moornebheym offering a visual depiction of the inhospitable nothingness contained within.
Those who have followed the career of Human Serpent thus far won’t be shocked with For I, the Misanthropist. It’s the same style of heavily riff-driven black metal that revels in melancholic tremolo melodies, pummeling, frenetic percussion, and deep, forceful shouts dripping with venomous despair. It carries the same violent yet depressive, nihilistic energy of previous album. The band is able to capture the bleak nature of melancholy and forcefully combine it with seething, unadulterated aggression, resulting in a sound that is equal parts hatred, desperation, and pessimism. The production is utterly fantastic for this style, with the warm, enveloping guitar tone constantly embracing sweeping, melodic tremolo riffing while the rhythm section powers through, leaving the forcefully, throaty shouts a front row seat.
While not much has changed since 2015’s Inhumane Minimalism, or 2014’s The Gradual Immersion in Nihilism for that matter, For I, the Misanthropist sees Human Serpent spreading their wings, slightly, like the chunky, atonal palm muting during the title track, the grinding machine-like approach that begins “The Temple of All Despair”, or the galloping meets tremolo charge of “Devotion to Denial”. Despite this slight evolution on their format, Human Serpent’s sound remains viscerally intense and emotionally draining. Aside from a few select moments, the band fires away on all cylinders, with blasting drums and fiery, melodic tremolo runs, resulting in something not too dissimilar from the likes of Mgła or Sargeist. For I, the Misanthropist should cement Human Serpent’s status as one of the best active black metal bands in the business.