REVIEW: SERPENTINE DOMINION – “Serpentine Dominion”
There are a lot of supergroups out there; so much so that it has become almost trendy. Amongst all the hype, certain ensembles just grab your attention, especially when their performance, skill and production is ridiculously good and polished. And so, we have the much-awaited collaborative effort from axeman supreme and master producer Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage fame. Contributing to vocal duties is none other than George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher of Cannibal Corpse, and Shannon Lucas, who played with Black Dahlia Murder in the past.
When I heard that these three incredible musicians were involved in a collaboration, my expectations rose through this roof. I jumped at the opportunity to hear the album in advance and get my fix of some Death Metal, and Oh Sweet Death Metal it is. The album opens up with a sweet nylon guitar piece that morphs into a metalcore sound, leaving me to wonder if it’s going to be a metalcore record. Don’t worry, it is not. If I had to label it (and I hate labeling), it would be melodic death metal. “The Vengeance In Me” is an absolute face-melter; it took me for a ride in the circle pit. It’s everything good about Death Metal and more. “Vanquish Unto Thee” and “Divide, Conquer, Burn and Destroy” carry on the onslaught with bone-crunching riffage and stomach-turning growls.
The guitar solos and pinch harmonics are peppered across the record, with tempos soaring high and proud. “Sovereign Hate” begins with an epic intro but boils into a sick groove that is sure to make you bob your head. One very unique thing about this song is the chorus which features Adam D do some cleans, and it feels very natural and cohesive. With “On The Brink Of Devastation”, we are back into the moshpit . This one will please any ardent Death Metal fan. Shannon Lucas shines on “Jagged Cross Legions” with insane blast beats and sustained snare hits. The chorus for this one takes on the metalcore format, but shifts between traditional Death Metal. I like this dynamic shift. The record features a reflective piece called “Prelude” that works as a somber piece and leads into the final track “This Endless War”, that ties all the themes and motifs together. Everything about this track is amazing, including the melodic passages, chorus, brutal verses and solos.
It is unsure if this record has a tour associated with it, considering the participants have very busy schedules. It is one of the reasons why the production and recording of this record took such a long time. I’d be very happy to see them in action in live. This record is an absolute joy to hear, and will go down as Adam D’s most ambitious and well-executed efforts. Every riff is in the right place, and every drum lick is accurate and on point. The lyrics are political and fit the current political climate. All in all, a perfect record.