SINGLE REVIEW: Serpent’s Tongue – “The Reaping” [2015]


Artist: Serpent’s Tongue

“The Reaping” – Single


Slithering, winding–from the mud, up around your ankle and tracing your spine–gliding effortlessly along your skin without so much as a tickle. Before long it finds itself at the base of your neck, subtle looping around your Adam’s apple and tightening, constricting to an ever-so-slight tension and forming a slipknot. Without warning–snap–it clenches, cracking your neck and collapsing your windpipe like The Hulk stepping on a twig. It effortlessly ends your existence, your body falls limp to the floor, bereft of life. This is “The Reaping,” a true harvesting of human life, instigated by Californian crushers, Serpent’s Tongue. “The Reaping” is a harbinger of heaviness–a Goliath delivering gruesome deathcore intensity with a penchant for punishing grooves and a distinct flair for down-tempo destruction. A juggernaut fueled by misanthropy and hellbent on burying the listener with heaps of all things heavy, Serpent’s Tongue are here to slaughter–nothing more, and certainly nothing less.
“The Reaping” begins earnestly enough, a subtle build-up that quickly kick-starts with a driving groove and speedy, sturdy percussion that straddles the line between breakdown and burly, tough riffing with ease. As “The Reaping” carries on, Serpent’s Tongue quickly establish their dynamic–moments of periodic speed which are devilishly interspersed between sections of pure down-tempo destruction. “The Reaping” houses moments of enormous atmosphere–where crushing down-tuned guitars clash head-on with high-strung elements of ethereality, oscillating back and forth, serving as a canvas for low, grisly vocals to tear at the listener’s flesh like a starved wolf. The real shock hidden within “The Reaping” rears it’s head at just past the halfway point, just as the listener begins to tire of the vocalist’s grisly growls and the chug-then-groove candor of the track. Just as the listener thinks they’ve heard all that Serpent’s Tongue have to offer, a high, shrill scream is hammered into their head by lacerating blast beats, giving the track just the unexpected twist it needed to keep the listener engaged. Suddenly, as soon as it appeared, it is erased–as Serpent’s Tongue dive into realms heavier than anything they’ve explored thus far. From here on out, “The Reaping” is a roller-coaster that keeps the listener completely immersed–until it flies off the rails during the track’s truly climactic breakdown.  Serpent’s Tongue are a wolf in snake’s clothing, as “The Reaping” subtly winds and slithers its way up to the listener’s throat, just to dig in with razor sharp teeth and an insatiable appetite for the listener’s flesh.