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One could have expected something more bestial and swift from a band that is named NunFuckRitual, but that is not exactly the case here. Despite the name that would fit perectly into Hells Headbangers' roster, this kind-of supergroup – involving members from various black metal groups, including a connection to Mayhem – delivers slow, menacing pain that rather needles the listener with ringing discordance than ravages with blast beats.
Indeed, In Bondage to the Serpent is slow, slow to the point of deserving the subtag doom metal. But that mostly fits to the album's general pace, as riff-wise the music is more prominently black metal: repetitive high-pitched tremolo work and sinister, highly distorted plucking. On top of the simple beats and evil melodies reside various whispered and gnarled vocals. The songs always tend to end up around seven and eight minutes, and as the songs aren't that versatile nor progressive, it's ultimately the overall atmosphere that matters.
And in that NunFuckRitual succeeds: In Bondage to the Serpent is auhentically dark and evil. But what comes to individual compositions, I don't think there's that much to remember after the album has ended. A successful aura of menace is what holds the album nicely together and keeps my interest throughout, but I don't see myself returning to it very frequently. There's a couple of noteworthy highlight moments, however, such as the epic, organ like synths on ”Christotokos”.
Looking for a trip in extremely malevolent soundscapes? Then do check out In Bondage to the Serpent which surely serves that purpose. All is done pretty well here but then again, it is 2011 and there's been similar efforts quite a lot every year, and although NunFuckRitual is somewhat above the line of mediocrity, something more is needed to truly rise my attention. And I don't think that applies merely to yours truly.
3 / 5
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