Serpentine’s criminal hymnal is a mystical journey through classic rock, spooky storytelling and headbang-inducing riffs. The band describes the album as a “sigil for self-transformation, drawn in audible range-vibrations,” and it certainly evokes that description. The ritualistic album carries somber, minor chords in high-energy psych-punk compositions. It feels larger than life, the kind of album that reads like a story told around a fire and passed down through generations.
Lily Molloy’s grandiose vocal delivery and emotive timbre provides the central hinge to the album’s intrigue, as Molloy uses her voice as its own instrument. Instead of being just a vehicle for the storytelling, her voice adds texture and stylistic pops that make the album compelling. The harmonies on tracks like “entanglement” and “magmatic ascendant” are ornate but delicate, also creating a dramatic cherry on top of the vocal performance.
“I don’t wanna be a ghost” is a fast-paced venture fit for mosh-pitting and shouting the lyrics with fervor with a crowd of sweaty others, while slow-burners like “from jerusalem to salem massachusetts” and “wastoid blues” shine in their methodic heaviness.
“Song for a selkie” is a prime example of what makes Serpentine so addicting. The layered vocals, theatrical composition and suspenseful tale congregate around a dance-inducing chorus. The song itself feels like it’s alive.
criminal hymnal is a strong debut, one that feels like it has been marinating for awhile. It’s an arrival for a set of talented performers who have just been waiting for the right moment to show themselves.
For Fans Of: shaking your demons free from your body through dance, early Black Sabbath, weed