2016, a year that has been called the year of the death of music (considering the number of musicians dying), but also the year of the supergroup. A year that gives birth to bands of which the members hardly need any introduction. Serpentine Dominion is George ‘’Corpsegrinder’’ Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), Adam D. (Killswitch Engage) and Shannon Lucas (The Black Dahlia Murder).
Though I, myself, am not a frequent listener of their music (apart from Cannibal Corpse), I was expecting something spectacular and to be honest, in that sense I was kinda disappointed. It’s not as powerful as I hoped it would be, though it did include a lot of neat stuff I didn’t expect. If you’re getting all fanboy-like after learning Corpsegrinder is fronting this beast, for the love of god, HOLD YOUR HORSES..and just listen to the intro track, which is simply titled Intro, for the lack of a better one, I guess. Maybe they’re just keeping it simple, who the fuck knows. Anyway, I like the intro, and if you’re an all-round fan of metal, I’m sure you will too. An acoustic guitar is something I wasn’t expecting, but okay, the riff is quite catchy to me and is soon empowered by electric guitars, tight and smooth. The 8th track, Prelude is another example of this, except it leaves out everything but the acoustic guitar. Again, it’s quite nice if you like a change and want to give your ears some rest for the remainder of the album, but it’s not extraordinary or new and it sure doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the songs. The Vengeance in Me and Vanquished Unto Thee to me were almost inseparable. Crushing vocals, tight riffing, some facemelting solo’s here and there, yada yada yada you all know the standard metal song formula by now. However, there was a surprising lack of bass volume in the mix, and I did not like the clean vocals in the latter of the 2 songs mentioned. Not at all. It doesn’t feel out of place like Prelude does, considering the influences each of the members have obviously brought to the table, but it’s just not something I want to hear in combination with Corpsegrinder. Divide, Conquer, Burn and Destroy and On the Brink of Devastion are probably the closest to the Cannibal Corpse sound this record can get. They’re definitely two of the better tracks, and they will tempt you to hear out the full length of this release. It is truly crushing and very enjoyable, but AGAIN, nothing mind-blowingly original. Jagged Cross Legions could’ve been on that same list, but the chorus (and the accompanying clean vox) totally killed it for me. On the bright side, it’s got a really nice solo. This Endless War..probably the only song in which I dug the backing vocals, and I guess it’s a fitting track to close the album with. Sovereign Hate, not the final song on the album, but definitely my favorite. Other than a really cool title, it’s got a hell of a groove to it..it just keeps pounding all the way through. The only thing bringing this one down are the backing vocals..once more, but luckily they are never prominent throughout the entire record.
All in all, this record surprised me both positively and negatively. I was expecting a lot more death and a lot less core, but if you ask me, the pro’s outweigh the cons, even though you can finish this record in a little under half an hour. I’m giving this record a solid 7.5, and adding to that: I am very eager to hear future productions by these guys. Definitely a very interesting listening session.