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The Serpent Servant

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★★★½☆
(15 Reviews)

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  • Impending Doom is one of the most interesting death metal/deathcore/metalcore bands in the industry today. They’re devout Christians, as can be seen through their lyrics, imagery, and testimonials, a fact that is almost non-existent in the genre of music that they play in (at least when speaking on a broad scale of popularity). Death metal, or the genres that fall beneath it are generally not known for Christian themes or bands, but somehow Impending Doom has risen to popularity despite these trends.

    That being said, let’s get to the album. Their first album, Nailed. Dead. Risen., was an interesting release to say the least, certainly not putting off a sound to appeal to the masses. Yet, with this rough and unpolished release they garnered broad attention from Christians and death metal fans alike with their brutal sound and unapologetic lyrics. I first found them right after they had released Nailed. Dead. Risen., and was not initially fond of the sound to be completely honest. But alas, the sound grew on me, and I eventually fell in love with the band, leading me to go to two of their live shows and speak with some of the band members personally. They are wonderful people, and strong Christians, and I was overjoyed at these facts. So needless to say, this new album was certainly one of my most anticipated albums in a long time.

    The new album has a MUCH more refined sound, quality, and cohesiveness, but with these steps forward come a few steps back. I love metal, death metal, hardcore, and much more, and anyone who knows these genres, more likely than not, has a love for breakdowns to some extent. What I’m getting at is that Impending Doom has gone the way of popularity here and gotten a bit breakdown happy. I believe that only 3 of the 11 songs do not have breakdowns in them, and while the breakdowns themselves do not all have the same design, they are a bit generic. I have no problem with something being like everything else as long as it does everything better, but in this instance, it’s a bit too much.

    That being said, I have to gripe on the vocals a bit. While the vocals are MUCH more audible and clean, they do tend to become monotonous and uninspired after 30 minutes of music. I understand if a vocalist doesn’t have any other ranges or variations, but that’s not the case with this vocalist (Brook Reeves). From the first album, we know that Brook has extremely low vocals and “pig squeals” of sorts, and while often unintelligible, sound completely awesome. If they would have just found a happy medium with a mix of old, and new vocals, this album probably could have gotten a 5 out of 5 from me, despite the problems with the over usage of breakdowns. I can just hope that the next album will include ALL of their talents, and not just some of them.

    Lyrically, the songs are great, with amazing imagery and symbolism, so there are no problems here. The metaphorical symbolism and Christian themes are once again strong and powerful in this release, and as always, welcome for a band in this genre. Like I said, no problems whatsoever.

    And another thing that I have to mention is the fact that the album seems a bit slow in comparison to Nailed. Dead. Risen., something I found to be a bit odd when looking at the genre in which the bands falls. Speed is evident in the songs “Storming The Gates of Hell” and “The Serpent Servant”, but it seems that speed is a bit underutilized on the rest of the album. Maybe I’m wrong, but the sense of chaos just isn’t as present in this album…

    Overall, the album shows growth within the band, but also illuminates some flaws. There is nothing wrong with sounding like other things, like I said, as long as you can make your sound better than everyone else. Impending Doom certainly has their own sound which differentiates them from everyone else within the industry, but with this album they’re taking two steps forward, and one step back. It’s almost like they’re trying to appeal to a broader crowd while sacrificing a bit of their own unique appeal. I’m certainly going to continue to watch the band and enjoy them wholeheartedly, but also continue to hope that their next album will show growth in a positive direction without compromising anything at all.

    If you love heavy music, breakdowns, death metal, or pretty much anything that makes you proud to be a Christian, pick the album up and support a great group of guys trying to shine for Christ in a very dark industry.

    Posted on December 30, 2009