The Baltimore Doom Metal scene gets another big dose of darkness from the debut album of Serpents of Secrecy.
The band had started this album in 2017, but the work was put aside after the shocking death of bassist Rev. Jim Forrester. Some of the music had already been recorded, and Serpents of Secrecy came together to finish all the work up and make sure it was not lost to history. The band for the album is Rev. Jim Forrester (bass), Todd Ingram (guitar), Chuck Dukehart III (drums), Mark Lorenzo (vocals), and Steve Fisher (guitar).
The underlying sound and vibe is classic metal in many ways and there are some songs that might have been played on the radio back when there was radio. There is a pervasive grungy feel, including the vocals which have a 1990s Seattle flavor to them in their cleaner incarnations. There is a plaintive emotion hovering around the music even when it crosses into a light literalness – that is one of the elements that makes this feel like a Doom album in the face of more straight-forward Metal.
“Ave Vindicta” opens the set and establishes that Doom tone I was talking about with throbbing feedback and slow, heavy riffs. “Heel Turn” is a more mainstream Metal song, and “The Cheat” is almost a ballad up front, with a melancholy lead guitar in the middle and a heavy finish. Bass lines are prominent on many of the songs, and well-placed sharp guitar remembrances glide in and out like ghosts. There are up-tempo crushers in here too, like “Warbird’s Song” and “Broke The Key” (one of my favorites on the album). It all comes to a close with a raucous sermon, “In The Lock.” This is an excellent album filled with variety and imbued with a style not often present in new music these days. Recommended.
Ave Vindicta is available on Halloween. Bandcamp is a good place to pick it up, and check out the band’s Big Cartel store for other merch. Links below.
Band Bandcamp, https://serpentsofsecrecy.bandcamp.com/releases
Band Big Cartel Store, https://serpentsofsecrecy.bigcartel.com/
Band website, http://www.serpentsofsecrecy.net
Band Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/Serpents-of-Secrecy