Serpent of Gnosis – As I Drink From The Infinite Well Of Inebriation
Reviewed: August 2019
Released 2019 1126 Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Remember Job For A Cowboy? Seems like only yesterday, they came from out of nowhere thanks to MySpace – remember MySpace? – and became one of the leading forces in tech-death/deathcore with their 2007 full-length debut Genesis. But when we last saw them, it was with their fourth album, Sun Eater, in 2014, by which time the lineup had undergone almost a complete turnover and the sound had wandered off in a decidedly more progressive direction that was a far cry from the brutal exuberance of the debut.
Well Job For A Cowboy may not be back as such, but vocalist Jonny Davy and guitarists Al Glassman and Tony Sannicandro have returned with the new outfit Serpent of Gnosis that takes JFAC’s initial intensity and shoves a grindy cattle prod up its ass. The band’s first release is the 10-track, 22-minute shitstorm As I Drink From The Infinite Well Of Inebriation, and its approach is the very antithesis of the meandering, noodly Sun Eater. Indeed, it flat out rips.
With Deeds of Flesh’s Darren Cesca on drums and The Black Dahlia Murder’s Max Lavelle on bass, the lineup here is a veritable extreme metal all-star team. And on Drink, they bring it with the gusto of a group of guys with something to prove, not a bunch of veterans mailing it in on a vanity project.
Glassman, Lavelle and Cessa all played together in Goratory, so there is a familiarity all the way around that helps make for a mercilessly tight and efficient unit here. The songs come and go in an early era Napalm Death-like blur and are delivered with a similar anarcho-punk intensity – while at the same time offering some Cattle Decapitation-like technical finesse to go along with the almost ceaselessly furious pace, notably on the nifty harmony lead break on “Harvest.”
The spasmodic opener “Decoherence” sets the tone in a 1:25 microburst of turbulent riffing, rivet gun drums and Davy’s phlegmy, attack-dog bark. Six of the songs here clock in at less than two minutes and only one cracks that mark – the downright epic “Cognitivity,” an industrialized brooder that maintains its mid-tempo march for 4:10 and serves as something of an extended breather at the album’s halfway point.
It’s the only thing approximating a “slow” song here, though Drink ends with a minute of electronic twiddling to close out “Lucid.” The rest of the album flies by as if fueled by Red Bull and meth. And though Drink may seem rather chintzy at just 22 minutes, the band pack a shitload of action into its rather modest package.
But just as with Slayer’s legendarily tidy Reign in Blood – at a comparatively courtly 29 minutes – you won’t feel cheated in the end. Indeed, much more of Serpent’s relentless intensity would only seem like overkill.
Not sure just what the future holds for Serpent. If this is a one-off, the band make a rather jarring statement. And if this is a successor to JFAC – not sure what the future holds for them either – Drink gets Serpent off to a rousing start. So either way, it’s a winning proposition.