Serpents Lair – Circumambulating the Stillborn ALBUM REVIEW

A towering and dark album. There was a bit of hype in certain circles for this record, and I say it absolutely delivers. There isn’t any one particular thing I love about this, but I was hooked the moment the archaic choir opened this album. The atmosphere is tense and doesn’t let up, throwing in some dissonant chords to build tension, and very guttural black metal vocals that border on death metal at times, just to keep things more sinister. Sinister would probably be the best way to describe this work, as aside from the almost calming intro, there is never a moment where the listener feels like they’re in a safe place. There is a constant sense of dread through almost every second of this. I’d describe this album as violent in nature, constantly on the attack, relentless pounding the listener with blast beats that don’t let up.

If anything, I wish this album would’ve actually utilized more of what I saw in the intro. I’m not saying they should’ve gone full on Deathspell Omega, but I think just a bit more of some extracurricular would’ve helped bring a little bit of variety into here. As a whole I feel like the album is a bit samey, which made it a bit hard to fully evaluate exactly what I liked about it. I came to realize that the fact that I can’t point to anything specific is a bit of a problem, as there really isn’t much to distinguish each track from one another. It made it so that I tended to tune out the album a bit, and there were times where I lost track of where I was in the album, having to back track and re-listen just to get oriented.

Circumambulating the Stillborn is still a great album with a fantastic atmosphere, but I feel like it avoids a higher score because of its one dimensional nature.


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