Here comes a very deceiving set of arrangements that should be tasted one by one but should nevertheless be seen as belonging together. Each of them takes the listener through a smooth curve along the road that Ananku is possibly meant to symbolize. This is not a literal journey, but rather concerns abstractions, solar illumination and equilibrated meditation. In turning abstract, the music must be plainspoken and, in a way, aligned to a graspable language. Like many meaningful writings that are not obvious or part of the general domain of common thoughts, it deceives the audience at large because what its laid back language expresses amounts to concepts and constructions out of their reach.
It is part of the great misunderstanding of the arts of modern times that we see music and literature as separated in the wrong way. For in truth they are simply different channels. It is assumed today that good writing is plainspoken, logical and most certainly agnostic. Music, good music that is, is expected to either only fulfill a utilitarian role or be objectively judged as greater based on a superficial evaluation of complexity (which we should rather name as ‘complication’). For the acrobatics of the 18th and 19th centuries are now shunned, the unique and personal colloquial language of the 14th and 15th centuries seen as comedic, and the treasures of both are lost to robotic over-standarisation (e.g. Oxford and Chicago styles). Music on the other hand is seen not only as having licence to but almost an obligation to create complicated music. Never mind the inner complexity, which is an illusion according to the delusional post-linguistic philosophy. Literature is dumbed down and made narrow for more people to understand and less room for divergence from the norm; music is pushed towards an inner simplicity and outer eccentricity to please the senses and forsake any attempt at real communication.
Ananku, then, challenges both, showing that a wonderful melody-weaving can take place in a way that it makes the most out of the natural range of predilections the human ear has for consonancy with slight dissonances, while using the metal paradigm in its pure minimalist way to grow sensibly within each of the chapters that would be called pieces and keep the whole under a tightly knit mantle of stylistic coherence. Serpent Ascending is anything but forward looking, but that does not mean it is static or reliant on the past, for what is shown in Ananku is very much their own, and clearly so. There is an overdoing of the standardisation, however, that holds back their growth here. This is seen in the verse and chorus alternations which somewhat debilitate the strengths of its enchanting treatment of melody and voice leading. Now here is where Serpent Ascending shows itself at its most subtle and sensible. For the latter voice leading, in turn, enriches and folds the popular template it uses by obfuscating the borders of sections through an expertly maintained continuity of phrase. This runs throughout and in spite of the advancing sections within each chapter.
Even though we see Serpent Ascending clearly departing from the strictly esoteric way of making music that has taken metal aesthetic to unassailable heights and dreamworlds unimaginable to the materialist, we see in Ananku a one-sided approach to understanding; esoteric in its language and symbols, but exoteric on the musical side, however beautifully laced its details may be. In a sense, we can see that the whole as a magical ruse in which its worldly presentation is used to lure in prospects until they find themselves within an edifice which contains within itself the transcendental knowledge that is the point of it all.