Nan Elmoth – Void Serpent (Review)

Nan ElmothNan Elmoth are a US black metal band and this is their second album.

Nan Elmoth offer us a combination of US and European black metal, balancing a good mix of the traditional and modern styles. Think the blast and groove old-school Darkthrone template added to and enhanced by something more adventurous like Wolves in the Throne Room.

From the moment this album starts it sounds gloriously grim, sleek, and murderous. Void Serpent is raw and underground in all of the right ways, scything through the airwaves with blackened malice and venomous delivery.

The music is unrelentingly harsh, twisted with disease, and sharpened to a killing point. The savagery and ugliness of this type of black metal is a thing of dark beauty, especially as the band channel their horror into music that actually knows what it’s doing, rather than being allowed to run around completely feral and unfettered.

With songs that span various speeds and grim moods, (all of them as black as sin), I especially like it when the band take the time to slow down, rein in their more unrestrained and violent side, and focus on creating malevolent atmospheres with slower or mid-paced sections. Having said this though, I also like that the scathing blast beats are never truly out of reach, and ultimately everything that Nan Elmoth have crafted on Void Serpent is extremely rewarding and enjoyable.

There are some very, very good riffs on this release. No matter what speed the band are playing at they never seem to take their eyes off the quality control levels. This also applies to a lot of the blackened melodies that appear; although certainly not a band you’d obviously describe as melodic, dark melodies do lurk in the distortion of the guitars, and are just another weapon in the band’s impressive arsenal.

The singer has one of the more high-pitched and ferocious screams in black metal. His delivery is one of a possessed man, driven mad by tormenting daemons and constant pain. His suffering is for our benefit, of course, as his performance on Void Serpent is commendable and engrossing.

Void Serpent is pure class. What more can I say? At a mere 32 minutes in length this is criminally short, but what material is here is powerful and sinister.

An essential listen for all underground black metal fans.

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