WARNING: Serpentine Path Don't Like It When You Call Them A Supergroup
It's tempting to call Serpentine Path a supergroup, but the band members would like you to refrain from doing so immediately. The New York City metal outfit rose from doom trio Unearthly Trance's ashes when vocalist Ryan Lipynsky, bassist Jay Newman, and drummer Darren Verni brought former Electric Wizard and Ramesses guitarist Tim Bagshaw onboard for a new project. The quartet's ensorcelling and terrifying self-titled debut was released by Relapse in September; soon after they added Winter's Stephen Flam as the second guitarist. Even though this seems like an optimal time to utter the S word, when Serpentine Path play on Saturday night at Saint Vitus Bar -- the band's first show ever -- DO NOT CALL THEM A SUPERGROUP.
"You'd better be fucking super if you're gonna call yourself a supergroup," says Newman. "Those are pretty lofty expectations for a band that hasn't played its first show yet. People can spin it however they want, but we're all just likeminded musicians into the same style of music. Maybe we all have a bit of experience playing in the genre because of our previous bands, but we're all just friends that happen to live in New York. At the core, we're all really fascinated with pushing the boundaries of what heavy music can be; we all drink from the same water."
While Unearthly Trance's 2010 masterpiece V experimented with tempo variation and expressive pluralism, Serpentine Path is a far more single-minded beast. The songs are all heavily concentrated and nightmarishly slow, which effectively magnifies even the slightest melodic contortion and provides Lipynsky's despairing growl the opportunity to distinguish itself from the grim sludge. Though difficult to decipher, the lyrics read like an Aesop Rock bar: so surreal they flirt with the edge of gibberish (but, of course, infinitely more dismal). Lipynsky's grunts are primal and infected, as if the torment is so overwhelming it's destroyed the possibility of a complete sentence.