On their debut release Nailed. Dead. Risen., Impending Doom established their sludgy, grind-influenced death metal m.o. With the follow-up, The Serpent Servant, the band smashes the concept of the sophomore slump, delivering their best release even in the light of their next two albums. And despite a weak-ish b-side, the top half of their 2009 release has 6 songs that comprise the very best of what the band is capable of.
In the first month of this project, I wrote about the group’s obsession with eschatology (the Judeo-Christian study of the “end times”) on their latest album Baptized in Filth. In March, I wrote about that album’s predecessor There Will Be Violence, which came just one year earlier.
So that leaves Serpent Servant as something of the oddball middle child. Which, fittingly, is today’s arbitrary holiday. But unlike most forgotten center siblings, this album destroys, overshadowing its brethren almost to the point of embarrassment.
Considering the muddy production of Nailed., Violence’s forgettable back-end, and the complete lack of identity that plagues all but, I don’t know, two songs on Baptized, Serpent Servant is almost a de facto champeen. Alas, all is made well by the chaos on tracks like “Anything Goes” and “In the House of Mourning.”
Thematically, well… if you’re into hearing about the potential of your eternal damnation without the redemptive powers of Jesus Christ, this will be your thing. Otherwise, I’d stay away from the lyrics. As someone who came up in strict Christian schools and who doesn’t subscribe to the parameters laid out by modern Christianity, the words of Doom’s lead vocalist Brook Reeves can be downright offensive, insensitive and ignorant. I guess I’m not as affected by lyrics I can’t hear as other listeners, so 35+ minutes of jams is plenty for me.
There’s an interesting divide halfway into this album. Through the first 6 tracks, Doom are relentless. It’s an assault that I’ve rarely heard this side of Converge. But “Revival: America” acts as something of an interlude, noting the demarcation line of The Serpent Servant. The last 4 tracks of the album are less unique in character, but pummel regardless.
Perhaps the only black eye for this record is that the band worked with Tim Lambesis. I rest my case, your honor.
Make no mistake about it, this is the best Impending Doom album yet. If you’re into deathcore or black metal or grind or scram or whatever, get into it.
From their sophomore release, this is the title track, “The Serpent Servant” –
Standout tracks: “Anything Goes” and “More Than Conquerors”
Weakest track: “City of Refuge”
RIYL: Christcore, ‘goreship’ – but also less alienating genres like deathcore and grindcore. August Burns Red, Sleeping Giant, In the Midst of Lions, With Blood Comes Cleansing, Whitechapel.