Serpent of Gnosis is basically a Schrödinger’s Job For A Cowboy; whether this new group, which is three-fifths of the band who left the death metal world hanging after dropping the now classic Sun Eater, is or isn’t actually a living, breathing Job For A Cowboy is up for philosophical debate (and a needless one at that). Serpent of Gnosis, simply put, is JFAC with a new rhythm section (featuring members from Black Dahlia Murder and Deeds Of Flesh, no biggie), but the results of As I Drink from the Well of Inebriation speak to this dilemma. The group that exists in the “now now” traffic in a ludicrous speed variant of deathgrind albeit with an impressive amount of technical flair and groove; it’s sort of a stepping stone from Sun Eater’s more volatile moments and something like Cattle Decapitation. One important proof of existence: this thing is here to kick ass.
The song that most aggressively proves this point is “Fragile Vessel of Serenity” which features vocalist Jonny Davy at his most gloriously unhinged, a rhythm section that showcases some serious violence with their instruments, and a too-often-heard solo from guitarist Tony Sannicandro. That said, the whole damn album oozes with a verve and ferocity, as each successive track serves to highlight an alternate universe where JFAC zagged towards deathgrind instead of prog death. There are delightful hints of Sun Eater’s playfulness and poise, as Inebriation is the rare instance of a grind album with atmosphere. The record regales the listener with tales of substance abuse and the desire to climb out of that well, and that despair only augments the punishment on display.
Ultimately, who the Hell cares whether or not this is a new JFAC release when something this special is served up on a silver platter. What a record that came out of absolutely nowhere.