In The Company of Serpents
Merging In Light EP

Denver’s In The Company of Serpents are a guitar/vocals (Grant Netzorg) & drums (Joseph Weller Myer) duo that bring a certain flair of rhythm and blues to the tried and true sound of doom/sludge/stoner metal. In 2014 they released Merging in Light, a 3 song EP that continues what they established on their previous releases which is to write songs that are equal parts fucking heavy, headbangingly groovy, and a thickness in sound that makes most songs sound thin and obsolete in comparison.

I first became aware of In The Company of Serpents when my friends Landon & Mike had gone to Great American Beer Festival in 2013. They had attended a show where Stoic Dissention (another great band from Colorado) and In The Company of Serpents were playing. They came back with nothing but great words about the bands and Landon had especially pointed me towards the latter. So I checked out their self-titled first album. It reminded me of a perfect mix between Black Sabbath, Sleep, and Bongzilla with a small dose of Electric Wizard thrown in there. Very groove heavy sludge with vocals that were not undecipherable. Very much something I could get into. I listened to Of The Flock (their second release) a few times but nothing to the point where it stuck with me. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t delve into their releases too heavily. I listened to them on occasion but I never gave them a proper listen. That all changed when Merging In Light was released.

“Breed, Consume, Die” is the first track on the album and I must say, it is one of the funnest songs I’ve heard in the sludge genre. It’s an incredibly upbeat track that I’m sure would bring about all sorts of banging of the heads. It has to be one of the most memorable riffs I’ve heard and that tone is fucking awesome. I’m easily reminded of Sleep’s “Dragonaut” where the harmony between groove and riff are combined to make a memorable song.

“Third Mind” follows suit with a very upbeat, catchy presentation of sonic euphoria. I’m going to come right out of the gate and say that the solo that ends this song is one of the best things I’ve ever heard. It’s so unexpected and it happens so randomly that it fits so perfect. I love when bands do something like that. Council of the Fallen had a similar solo (even though the two bands couldn’t be more different) in the song “Search For Purpose” from the album Revealing Damnation. I don’t want to say that either pieces were wholly “out-of-the-blue” but they happen so suddenly and end just the same that it’s a breath of fresh air in that regard because solos can be pure wankery sometime.

The album closes with the track “A Union of Opposites”. The longest song on the album at just under ten minutes, it’s certainly the gloomiest track on the record. Very much in contrast with the upbeat and (almost) positive vibe of the previous tracks, this one brings the doom. While the aforementioned tracks were in no way a negative point for the production job on this release, it really stands out on this track. A thick wall of noisy, sludgy, messy doom pervades this song. Grant’s vocals remind me, at times, of Matt Pike’s but with a sense of soul and pain that seems very much his own. They have seemed so familiar while picking this album apart but I just couldn’t place it. I will say, though, that his have easily become one of my favourite because, while not being completely clean, they are very rough yet decipherable. The enunciation is on point.

Instrument-wise, the guitar tone throughout the album is so fuzzy & crunchy that it’s almost tangible and when paired with the uptempo drums….its harmonious. Such a rewarding listen through and through that it’s almost disgusting because it’s only three songs. I want it to be more. But in this life, in this time, Merging In Light was only meant to be a short release and I’m ok with that. Check out all of their releases on bandcamp and certainly support them. They are very much worth the time for your ears to hear.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris S
March 12th, 2015

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