Sarpa ( the Sanskrit term for serpent) is the Austin, Texas-based one-man black/death project from the mind of David Baxter, formerly of industrial thrashers Skrew). The aptly named album Solivagus (roughly translated from Latin to ‘wondering alone’) is his first effort, no demos, no singles, just right into this ambitious 7 song 48-minute affair that takes a while to get going, but ends up being pretty impressive one it finds its groove.

When I say takes a while to get going, intro “Cleanse” is a needless start then the first track “Triad of Might” is a 10 plus minute beast that really kinda wanders around for its first half before a sexy, Furia/ Fluisteraars mid-song sway kicks in and gets my attention.

And from there, the album holds my attention with a dreamy, experimental take on black/death metal, with a little more lean towards death. The riffs are twisty, loosely Opeth based but with some atonal, Bolzer-y shiftiness and groove and some black metal sheen here and there. But it’s when Baxter locks into more, slithering mid-paced saunter that he’s more successful. Riffs such as the opening of “Predacious Dimensions”, slower “Evanesce”, the instrumental title track, and rather impressive closing number “Horizons Worlds Beyond”, another labyrinthine, 10-minute beast, with another cool little discordance waltz-y riff.

When Baxter tried to get a little more aggressive such as “Anguishing Reveries”, it’s a little less successful but certainly an interesting sound with the discordance swings and sways delivered at a more frenzied pace.

Still a promising one-man outfit that has a little uniqueness to it and certainly a guy I’ll be keeping an eye on in the one man scene.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 15th, 2020


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