Shaman's Path of the Serpent is the new EP from California desert/stoner/doom act Atala, and follows up their 2014 self-titled debut. Comprised of Kyle Stratton (guitar, vocals), John Chavarria (bass), and Jeff Tedtaotao (drums), Atala live in a sea of hazy, fuzz-toned guitar riffs, plodding rhythms, and bleak lyrical themes. The 4 tracks here were engineered by Billy Anderson, who has worked with the likes of Sleep, Melvins, and Mastodon, so obviously he was the right guy for the job. "Gravity" kicks things off, a slow, lengthy dirge of ominous tone, leading into the somber doom of "Levity", as massive riffs and an epic feel permeate the slow, sludge ridden journey into your worst nightmare. About mid-way through this one there's a cool groove that will get your senses rumbling before it settles back into a familiar tempo which seems to run through much of the EP. "King Soloman" has an even darker tone, as Stratton's pained vocals tear through booming riffs and ominous atmosphere. Closing track "Shape Shifter" doesn't offer up any surprises, continuing on with the same basic musical themes in the previous three tunes, meandering along with haunting vocals and and lots of slow, crushing riffs.
If Shaman's Path of the Serpent sounds like it might be a tad one-note, that's because it is. Coming across almost like one continuous 32-minute track, there's not much in the way of variety here, but Atala do what they do well, so if you like epic sounding, slow, plodding stoner/sludge/doom, you'll want to investigate this one.
3) King Soloman
4) Shape Shifter