Serpents Oath- Interview

Belgian black metal band Serpents Oath performed in Romania for the first time. As they are enriching the line-up of Underground for the Masses Festival, an interview seems the...
Serpents Oath- Belgium

Belgian black metal band Serpents Oath performed in Romania for the first time. As they are enriching the line-up of Underground for the Masses Festival, an interview seems the best way to familiarize the Romanian public with their music and dark concept behind it.

Din Intunerec: Hello, guys, thank you for getting on board with the interview.
First of all, tell us a few things about the band Serpents Oath, for the Romanian audience who might know less about you!

Serpents Oath: SERPENTS OATH started as a new creature composed of 3 adepts of Belgium’s extreme metal scene. As soon as we met up and started creating together, we realized they were establishing a very different entity. Hence we decided to leave the past behind and give birth to this new Beast.

As this unholy trinity we unleashed our debut album Nihil through Soulseller Records in 2020 to much critical acclaim. With its relentless and unforgiving version of nihilistic black metal it took the world by storm.

Since then, we have expanded our line-up to five sworn in members. Working and recording on our sophomore album as a full band brought a new dimension to the record that is recognizable from the first listen. Ascension saw the light of day in 2022 and this opus brought only crushing riffs, pounding drums and terrorizing screams.

Now in 2024 we have joined forces with Odium Records to unleash our third album Revelation upon the hordes. A distinct step forward both in songwriting and production, this latest opus is showing that the Flame burns brighter than ever.

Din Intunerec: How did you come up with the name of the band, is there a story behind it? How does it connect with the concepts behind your music?

Serpents Oath: The vision behind the band is one of transformation. This shines through first and foremost in the lyrics and is carried through in the cover art and other visuals. The transformation is that of an individual striving to become trans human… With the ultimate goal of beating even Death. This is the ultimate rebellion as even Death is not accepted as a given. As you can imagine, striving for basically Immortality doesn’t happen overnight and is approached from 2 sides: the Night- and the Dayside.

From a Dayside perspective the aim is to not physically die. This is very much rooted in the advancement of science prolonging life to the point where we live long enough to witness the day where dying of old age is no more. The first successful clinical tests of reversing the decay of cells have already happened.

From a Nightside perspective the aim is to not need a physical body. This is rooted on the astral plane where you train in order to be first aware and later control your astral body. Both aspects are cemented in doing, not in believing, so it is a very practical approach.

“Live by the rule of Fang and Claw, Survival is the highest Law” is part of a specific Oath of Fealty, an Oath to the Serpent. To commit oneself to that requires dedication to its fullest. That is what our name is based on.

Din Intunerec: Would you explain the band’s logo? I mean, a pair of serpents, the inverted pyramid? Does it symbolize change, ascension, knowledge?

Serpents Oath: As explained above, the vision behind the band is one of transformation. Symbolically this is represented in the Band’s logo, where the Serpents form the basis of life (the dragon that is visible even in a DNA strand, the building block of all life). Those Serpents also represent the connection with the source within oneself. The eye in the middle represents the awakening of the third eye, essentially awakening the Inner Self and thus your Ascension to become your own God. The inverted pyramid/triangle refers to the representation of the 4 elements, in this case with a narrow base in the Flesh and a wide base at the spiritual level.

Din Intunerec: Since we’re discussing symbolism, please guide us through understanding the meaning behind the albums’ covers.

Serpents Oath: I have known Nestor for a long time and there was an instant connection from day one. Apart from being a great artist, he is also very familiar with the occult workings, so when giving him a brief he immediately understands what we are looking for. We are really looking to have our vision made into flesh and Nestor is the perfect artist to do that.

On the first album, the vision of rebellion is represented in the cover art. It shows the UR rebellion, Lucifer, that leads the War in Heaven. Only this time the outcome is different and the rebellion succeeds, visualized by Lucifer casting out the ArchAngel Michael and therefore a perfect representation of the ultimate victory of free will.

The next artwork showed the next chapter of that rebellion. Lucifer has now stormed the Throne of God only to find it empty and thus ascends to become his own God. The title Ascension referred to that journey of becoming your own God.

The third album shows him having claimed that Throne and being firmly seated in it, to openly reign over all creation.

Din Intunerec: What are the bands, the books and the musical styles which had an influence on your own musical style and lyrical inspiration?

Serpents Oath: The involvement in the Dark Arts has been just as long as my involvement in extreme metal music. Over decades I have walked on my own individual path and that obviously has formed me as a person. Hence it feels only natural to use that in my lyrics as it is deeply personal. I approach the Dark Arts in a very practical manner and use it in my everyday life. The aim is for my work on the Nightside to leave footprints in the Day. To summarize this in a couple of lines isn’t possible but suffice to say: test everything, believe nothing!

Regarding the music, there is just as much inspiration from modern day BM such as Taake’s Doedskvad, Watain’s Sworn to the Dark or Archgoat’s The light devouring Darkness as there is from early thrash such as Kreator’s Flag of Hate, Sodom’s In the Sign of Evil or Destruction’s Sentence of Death.

Din Intunerec: Why Black Metal and what does Black Metal represent in today’s musical landscape?

Serpents Oath: Right from the start we just played the music that we wanted to play and have a strong connection to. The source of that is probably situated in 90’s Black Metal since we experienced it first hand in that period. So although we aren’t directly influenced by any particular bands, the fact that we create music that harks back to that same era, probably means that it is bound to be fast. It isn’t just about speed however, we always look for intensity in the song, even if the tempo is slower. In the end it needs to be pure and deliver a punch in the face.

Black Metal isn’t just about tremolo picking, blast beats and high pitched screams. It is all about the intent that is put behind it. It is not meant to be safe or easily digestible, rather the contrary, it was always intended to go against the stream. Hence there could be no other vehicle for our message.

Din Intunerec: You have recently signed with Odium Records and released your third full-length, Revelation. In what way does the collaboration with this label best encapsulate your vision?

Serpents Oath: Since the release of our first album we were in contact with Shadow of Odium Records. From the beginning it was obvious that we shared the same vision on what Black Metal should be, so when it became time to look for the right label for our third release, it was clear for us to switch to Odium. We are honored to team up with an elite underground label that has released material from bands like Ofermod, Beastcraft, Acherontas, Varathron or Black Altar.

The most important aspect was that they put quality before everything else. This attitude is carried forward in the products themselves and this for example has led to the release of the limited edition wooden box set.

Din Intunerec: There have been numerous comments that Revelation is the most brutal and heavy of your albums, so far. Care to elaborate on this topic?

Serpents Oath: The fact that we live in the vicinity of each other and get together several times per week to play music and discuss a variety of topics has had a major influence. It has meant that we have established a unique bond as we have become more than the sum of our parts. It also meant that musically we got aligned very quickly and could test out new ideas immediately and keep new music flowing.  Spending that much time together not only means that you get attuned to each other but also that you keep pushing each other to constantly improve. 

Our vision of transformation also applies to that: tomorrow you should be a better version of yourself than today. Just like the Serpent that sheds its skin, and a new version emerges, so have we evolved and that evolution you can hear on the new album Revelation.

Din Intunerec: There are plenty of ritualistic elements in the latest release and also in your live shows. Could you guide us through them?

Serpents Oath: The album describes the journey from initiate to adept divided into 3 chapters. It all starts with the first step on your own path, symbolized by the Genesis chapter. In order to progress however, one has to break down the taught barriers and go through a process of de-identification, symbolized by the Apocalypse chapter. Only then can one be reborn, symbolized by the Resurrection chapter.

The three chapters thus look at a similar subject from different angles. If we look at fire, from a genesis perspective, we see it as the spark of life or the spark of an idea. From an apocalypse perspective, it is the all consuming fire devouring everything in its path. From a resurrection perspective, it is the inner flame, the Black Flame of spiritual enlightenment when one finds the Source within oneself. In summary it shows the transition of first nurturing your Inner Flame to eventually deploy it in order to devour everything that stands in your way with an all consuming inferno.

On the live front, every time we play, we give our all. We also make the venue where we play our own Temple and invite the listeners/viewers to take part in the desecration that is Serpents Oath. The energy that we receive from the audience is immense. It is what keeps you pushing for more and as such becomes part of that transformative process. In the end that is what the aim of extreme music is, to be played live with an audience that loses themselves, as that is what lifts you to another plane.

Din Intunerec: Actually what is the message you want to convey throughout your music?

Serpents Oath: Test everything, believe nothing!

Din Intunerec: How does the musical activity, the traveling, the live shows and everything else related to the band fit with your social life, the everyday life as it is? Are you ‘practice what you preach’ kind of people or is everything compartmentalized?

Serpents Oath: It is part of the Nightside/Dayside approach that I mentioned earlier. The goal is to live in the Twilight or at least for your actions in the Nightside to leave footprints in the Day. Usually it means trying to balance the two. In that regard there is no difference in the „practice what you preach” and „compartmentalizing” approach, as for us they are 2 parts of the same coin.

Din Intunerec: What future plans can you share with us?

Serpents Oath: For now we are focused on promoting the new album live. Nothing compares to that. Take all the live streams or live recordings you want, they cannot capture that energy. You have to be present in order to experience it. How else can you smell the incense, taste the blood in the air and feel the warmth of the flame on your skin? Only in a live environment does this music truly come alive!

Rest assured however that we are always working on new music.

Din Intunerec: There were quite a lot of new black metal albums released in 2023. Anything in particular which drew your attention? Anything you would recommend?

Serpents Oath: I’m not a big fan of recommending something, as in the end it is the opinion of one individual. I’d much rather have everyone go and find out / try / listen to things for themselves and form their own opinion.

Din Intunerec: Last week you performed in Romania for the first time. What do you know about Romania? Are you familiar with any bands or musicians from Romania? Also what did you expect from this newborn underground festival, Underground For The Masses?

Serpents Oath: So far the contact with the organization has been outstanding, so we were really looking forward to this. I must admit that I only know Negurā Bunget, as they performed live in Belgium several times.

Din Intunerec: Now, after the festival is over, what are your impressions about the Underground for the Masses and about the Romanian audience?

Serpents Oath: From an organizational point of view it was top notch. Not only was everything taken care of, but we really felt welcomed. The venue is amazing and the crowd was full of energy.  More so than in other countries, everyone was really respectful and approached us after the show to tell us how much they loved our performance. We can only but recommend the fest to bands and audiences alike.

Din Intunerec: Before we wrap up this interview, any final thoughts? Is there any message you have for the readers and black metal fans?

Serpents Oath: We are proud to be able to share our new album Revelation with the world. Thanks for the support, this interview and giving us the chance to share our Vision with others. For the readers, be sure to check out our music and prepare to be bound by the Serpents Oath.

Test everything, believe nothing!

Din Intunerec: Thank you for your time! We hope to see you soon, back on the stage in Romania!
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