Do You Hear The Calling Of, Lord Serpentis Dominus?
Updated: May 31
Review for the latest album from Snake Healer, Oblatio, can be heard right here!
The moisture is thick tonight, and you can smell the sulfur just as thick. You follow the trail of incense as the smoke billows above your head, lining the cave as you chant in unison, echoing and bouncing off the walls this way and that, leading you further down. The Torchlight casts shadows all around, the cloaked figures you are following seem to almost appear to be gliding just above the surface of damp stone beneath your feet as you traverse this serpentine network of caves. Are you saying the words correctly? What happens if you don't? Will everything be alright? You continue your chanting as you follow suit in line down the wandering path. It's getting colder and the air feels.... alive? You see down a ways, a opening and a glimmer of light, you're almost there, your heart beats louder in your ears as you continue to chant to drown it out. The electricity all around you is intoxicating as you chant louder, your cloaked fellowship begin ringing bells to summon forth the attention and make your presence known as you enter the chamber and the cave opens up like a jaw, ready to swallow all who are unworthy of entrance. Several other hooded figures circle the outer walls of the cave in prayer, you see a tremendous marble stone serpent in the middle of the cave, you see it's eyes.... is it looking at you? Through you? Focus on the words. Heed the call. Allow it to engulf you. This is it. You find your place among the others and a silence falls over the crowd. You hear a deeper chant from the back and music playing that seems to almost tame the serpent statue in the middle of the room, who's eyes are definitely fixed on you. Stand tall and accept your fate.
That's literally what comes to mind when listening to the music of and looking over the artwork, lyrics, and content of, Snake Healer. A mysterious coven of artists dedicated to praising their lord, Serpentis Dominus. Is this music? Yes and no. It's more a spiritual reckoning and journey in the form of music. A relaxing chant sets the mood on this release for us new followers of the serpent-god called, Serpentis Dominus, fitting. The image of the aforementioned monks traveling a dank and musty cave for worship is definitely felt in this opening ceremony. It leaves you both calm and anxious at the same time, leaving you wondering just what exactly is to come...
And what's to come next is the track, Evocation, and it's exactly what you'd expect if you continue the imagery of the monks walking down to this serpent-gods lair, a heavy hitting musical arrangement with eerie atmosphere the likes of those old 70's "satanic panic" horror movies. Thick and fuzzy guitars vibrate across the cavern walls and the vocals echo all around leaving you entranced. The ritual is definitely just begun and one can only wonder what these mysterious figures have in store for us. The song closes out with guitar harmonies highlighting the chanting vocals and crescendos into a creepy ending, but this is just the beginning.
The monks then ease up a bit on the freaky atmosphere and bring in a groovy tune that almost any serpent can jive to. In His Name is a sludgey rocking tune that drones on in worship of the reptilian statue as they give praise in it's very presence. The pipe organs are a nice touch and I'm sure that Serpentis Dominus is pleased in his disciples. The eyes of the statue glow brighter towards the end of this ceremony as it locks in on its followers, bringing forth it's mystical powers and releasing it as it echoes in the halls and reverberates in our heads with the end of this hymn.
The reverberations set forth a voice in your head... a distant memory. The voice is familiar... as you stare into the statues eyes you begin to see the face belonging to the voice you're hearing in your head, ah, yes, you recognize this as the record entry from February, was it back in, 1922? Yes! You remember as the snakes eyes become enflamed, it was the old Record Entry, February 22, 1922, and you hear it resoundingly clear as day, walking you through their findings of our society and our lord. That fool. No one should ever wander into the serpents lair without accepting it's embrace first. Those who do only become mere morsels of flesh as it devours you, and changes you forever. Once you walk the scaly path, you never turn back.
As the vision fades, you hear the serpent statue speaking to you, reassuring you that this is almost over and that once completed, you can always.... you hear a voice in your head again, this time it's softer, more welcoming, stating that you can always... what's it repeating over and over again as your vision goes black.... the words echo and fade, repeating, "Call On Me".... over and over. Your vision is blurred as you hear the fuzzy guitars return and the room sways to and fro. You embrace the tribal drums and breathe deep the incense as it washes over you, you are in this very moment, now one with the serpent as it smiles down upon you from high above. The chanting alongside the guitars drives you into a frenzy as you then feel weak in the knees and collapse, blacking out.
Those familiar voices from the recordings return, echoing in your head as you lose control of your body, barely hanging on to consciousness. This one sounds like the Recording Entry from November 22 now of the year 2021..... is that.... me? My friends? I'm remembering this night now, the night we decided to cast away our shackles of servitude to this man made flesh and shed our old skin, to be awakened in the eye of the serpent lord.....
You wake up to your fellowship lifting you up and embracing you, holding you up as the music grows stronger, indicating that this ceremony is almost at it's end and it's now time to claim your place among the Monks of The Lord Serpentis Dominus. The riffs of the guitars entrance you as the vocals fill the chamber once again. The powerful organs come back alongside some beautiful string arrangements that lull you in to the moment as the guitars come in for the serpents strike, coming in for the kill with a hard and heavy riff and emotional melody that really drives the point home of this instance, that there is no turning back now. This is now the time, the moment is nigh and an offering must be made, Oblatio MUST be complete and YOU are the payment due upon receiving the serpent's kiss, the blessing of the forked tongue! You wield the blade, and finish the incantation for your own sacrifice, Oblatio is now complete as you once again collapse under your body's own weight and bear witness your life's blood drain in a pool around you, your eyes slowly close and you fade to emptiness. "You have done well my faithful servant, you have given yourself completely to me, and thus, I now completely to you, to fill you." The serpent slithers its way into your soul as you breathe life anew, you now rise in his name, Serpentis Dominus! Forever to ride the serpent and coil yourself around your fellowship in his presence for all eternity.
Listening to this music from Snake Healer, you may find yourself as I did, following it like a story. Snake Healer definitely has a message to tell the world and they tell their story very well. For what this music is, it is very unique and creative, like an acid trip gone awry. The music has it's highs and it's lows, the lows are drawn out to keep you entranced and the highs hit you right when they need to to really force you in to the moment. Now, with that being said, is this music for everyone? Probably not. But is it worth checking out? Definitely, if not for at least the experience, it is a wild one! Musically, it is difficult to judge this since it literally feels like a religious experience in audio format, what IS there though is interesting enough to keep you listening. What I would love to hear more of with future music from Snake Healer is more of the effective riffs come in to play more that helped paint the picture of the music, the chanting and eerie landscape the organs and strings bring forth are perfect, I'd just love to hear more of those guitar melodies and riffs that were sprinkled here and there, it could really help to tie it all together. As it stands with this music from Snake Healer, I can give this a solid 8 out of 10. The idea of what they are setting out to do here is very strong and palpable, they have created a rich history, background story and setting for their music to thrive within. I do look forward to hearing the next chapter in the writing of Snake Healer because this one felt like a prequel to a really good horror movie that left me wanting much more. You can listen to their music here on their Band Camp, and you can follow their social media pages right here to further show your support for what they have created with their rich atmosphere and detailed world of Snake Healer. Below a few music videos I posted below for you all to enjoy, be sure to check out their interview they did with BODS Mayhem Hour Podcast.
Review done by Joshuah Jones, the bassist of The Obsidian Resurrection.