Friday, In the Company of Serpents -Denver’s purveyors of sludge- dropped their new album, Ain-Soph Aur, and unleashed a slight change in their music. No, they didn’t start playing Babymetal covers or become a re-thrash two-piece. Grant Netzorg didn’t change his vocals, but he is playing his guitar slower and with a bit more twang, which was becoming apparent a couple years ago when he was playing some of these new songs live. And I’m digging it.

The opener “Middle Pillar” is pretty standard ITCOS, a bit slower, but this is still ITCOS for a solid 8 minutes. It starts picking up the last half of the song, building towards the end … and apparently “Nothingness,” the interlude track that follows. More depressive shit, just slow guitar and some distant metal creaking, like a rusty windmill turning for a couple minutes.

After the break we get the crushing “Crucible.” I was digging this one hard when it was early released. That twang and depressive sound I mentioned is on display here. I’m not sure drummer Joseph Weller Myer could play the drums any slower because he is having to plod slowly behind Netzorg’s focused guitar strumming. At four-minutes, it’s back to blowing the speakers with heaviness as both crank the volume and pace on what they’ve been playing for the first half of the song. This song is everything on this album.

Two more short interludes follow, before we reach the final track, “Limitless Light.”

This change in sound didn’t go away, prepare your ears for twelve minutes of slowly being pulled across the wasteland before being crushed under the weight of riffs and drums at about the halfway mark on this one.

It’s good to have ITCOS back on the block with a new album that shows some development in their sound. I don’t want to call it maturation, but maybe that’s what Hetzorg and Myer were going for. It doesn’t sound as angry or as frenetic as previous work, Ain-Soph Aur is focused and sure of itself.

In the Company of Serpents are playing the Ain-Soph Aur Release Show at the Bluebird Theater March 31 with Dreadnought, 908, and Echo Beds.

Ain-Soph Aur is available now on Bandcamp from In the Company of Serpents. GIVE THEM MONEY!