I was almost positive when I heard I going to be reviewing a band called Gothik Serpent that this band has got to be metal. I was wrong. The recent album they released entitled Interloper is a sprawling technically proficient album that has more in common with Robert Fripp and Rush than anything else. It’s a fairly ambitious project with a rich variety of instrumentation that includes instruments you don’t always get to hear in progressive math rock like saxophone, clarinet, chapman stick and harpsichord.
The circus leader behind the project is Kerwin Tsang who plays the bass, chapman stick and does backing vocals. I often found the bass parts drew most of my attention a good amount of the time. They stuck out in the mix and Tsang is a certified badass when it comes to technical ability.
According to Tsang, “Interloper explores the topics of alienation, isolation and impermanence, and when listened to as a whole presents a narrative in the form of a central protagonist traveling to a distant promised land whose journey is haunted by dreams of a nightmarish, dystopian future.” That’s all fine and dandy but it is largely irrelevant to the listening experience. This is mainly an instrumental project in which the narrative did little to elevate my enjoyment of the album.
Interloper has some mighty fine moments and some missteps. The strongest moments are the ones that are experimental, instrumentally robust and shed typical verse/chorus/verse type structures. Interestingly enough the vocal based tracks didn’t do as much for me although I do think Tricia Isabela has a strong lead that has its roots in ‘80s rock.
The first track “Direct Fright” has a distinct ‘80s feel (a lot of it stemmed from the guitar tone). It was a bit cheesy in a good way and comes equipped with a lead synth, distorted guitar, powerful drums and some fantastic bass work. “Interceptor” was the first track that really caught my attention. There is a good marriage of string work and horns that sounded great. On top of that the track was dynamically appealing as the instruments’ intensity ebbed and flowed throughout.
The last two tracks are ”K Terminal” and “Everything Will Fail” as strong closers. I embraced the style and pure technical ability of “K Terminal. “ They really pound out some quality material that was pure ear candy. “Everything Will Fall” instills a sense of triumph as Isabella sings, “Desperate crawling surviving / Someday I'll make it / Everything will fail / Lurking by the bastions of the trampled dreams oh / Everything will fail.”
What Interloper lacks in poppy hooks it makes up in technical prowess. I wasn’t on board with every track but overall it was an impressive debut.
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