With everyone from Steven Tyler to Jimmy Bower to David “Morbid to the Core” Vincent gone country these days, I guess it was just a matter of time before country doom actually became a thing. In the Company of Serpents describe themselves as “between sludge metal and sprawling spaghetti western scores,” but if you came here for fiddles and steel guitars, then this Denver duo is about as country as John Denver.
On the other hand, if you’re a fan of Nashville’s Across Tundras, the last 2-3 Earth LPs, or you wish Scott Kelly’s solo stuff sounded a bit more like Neurosis, then you might could dig this. Ain-Soph Aur offers six tracks spanning 37 minutes… although there’s really just three epic-length numbers, along with three sub-three-minute interludes. The first track, “Middle Pillar,” starts off slow and sparse, in post-rock territory, though we’re only about a minute in when the first heavy riff arrives. It maintains a mid-paced, mostly sludgy pace for a little bit, before the riffs drop off completely, and we’re greeted with a gruff, Scott Kelly style vocal. They get progressively heavy and slightly progressive from there, with a decent push-pull dynamic between the drums and guitars. No fiddles, steel guitars… or bass, for that matter.
“Crucible” starts off with a jangly, twangy shuffle that makes me think of Across Tundras or USX. Vocals come in gruff and hoarse again, with none of that Tennessee twang (which is probably a good thang). The heavy riffs don’t kick in until around the four-minute mark, and they blend in seamlessly with the rolling thunder backbeat. There’s even a bit of a twangier Matt Pike riff for a couple measures, before some tremolo picking kicks in. The 12-and-a-half-minute closer, “Limitless Light,” returns toward the post-rock realm, sounding sorta like something offa Earth’s Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light, albeit with a bone-crushingly heavy guitar riff more befitting of Dylan Carlson’s earlier years. This might be the closest they come to Neurosis as well, particularly the more recent Honor Found in Decay album, before taking a boot-stompingly sludgy turn in the final four minutes.
Some of the interludes on here contribute more to the rustic, “spaghetti western” feel, but you definitely won’t see this outfit opening for Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan anytime soon!