Serocs – And When The Sky Was Opened
Location: Mexica, USA, Canada and Finland
Label: Comatose Music
Multinational death metal outfit Serocs might be a fairly young band (having formed in 2009), but they’ve already made a name for themselves in the metal underground. 2013’s The Next was met with much acclaim, and has kept fans of technical/brutal death metal foaming at the mouth, waiting for more. Well, When The Sky Was Opened has proven to be a worthy successor, and will certainly please Serocs fans, as well as gain some new ones.
One thing that really sticks out to me about And When The Sky Was Opened is how catchy many of the riffs are; I know “catchy” is a curse word in the death metal world, but in Serocs’ case, trust me, it’s applicable. “And So It Begins” starts things off at a furious pace, with every instrument blasting at full speed, and deep guttural vocals giving the song an extra edge of brutality. It didn’t take me long to notice that the drummer isn’t just relying on blast-beats the whole time, which is a pleasant change. A lot of bands lose definition in their music by pummelling the listener with blasts the whole time, but the drums in Serocs manage to bring the emphasis back to the guitars and vocals. I also enjoy that the band doesn’t forsake good songwriting for technical prowess; “When The Ground Swallows Us” is full of almost jazz-like time signatures, but manages to not sound like a clusterfuck of random notes, and has plenty of moments that had me banging my head along.
The production is handled pretty well and, again, I have to comment on the drums. One thing that can really kill an album is a bad drum tone (St. Anger, anyone?), but Serocs deftly side-stepped that little pitfall. There is a fantastic guitar solo on “When The Ground Swallows Us” that sounds like it’s being filtered in from another dimension, which has a really cool effect on the mood of the song. There’s enough bass in the mix to give the guitars a boost in the low end, and the higher “lead” guitar parts have an almost melodic feel to them. Fans of Cryptopsy, Iniquity, and Nile should definitely take notice if Serocs isn’t on their radar already. With excellent songwriting, flashy musicianship, and a solid backbone of pure death metal brutality, And When The Sky Was Opened will certainly find itself on repeat in my personal mix for a while.
Adrenechrome – Tales From Adrenechrome
It’s always refreshing hearing a band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Ontario’s Adrenechrome play metal that combines the thrash of Municipal Waste with the prog-infused sludge of Mastodon, and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Veterans of the Canadian music scene, Adrenechrome have shared the stage with the likes of Exes For Eyes, Corrosion Of Conformity, and Green Jelly.
Tales From Adrenechrome is packed with frantically-paced thrash riffs that give way to bluesy prog-fests, while managing to sound “fun.” There’s really no other way to describe the mood here; it’s a fun record to listen to, with a great variety of sounds. Opening track, “A Familiar Face,” sounds like it belongs on a Torche record, before giving way to a fierce thrash attack that is reminiscent of the early material by Power Trip on the next track, “Lockstep.” The guitar work is fast and heavy when they play the thrashier material, then gets a bit bluesy/proggy when they break into the more sludge sounding riffs, often in the same song. Variety is the name of the game.
The production is pristine, offering a clean and clear sound, while avoiding sounding too processed. Adrenechrome switch between styles so quickly and skilfully, it’s really difficult to define them as being a part of any particular sub-genre. “Black Brubeck” has a banjo thrown into the mix, and it sounds completely natural, who else can do that (besides maybe Taake)? It’s really only a matter of time now before Adrenechrome become a household name in the metal world, and some major label will snatch them up. If Tales From Adrenechrome is only the beginning, I can’t wait to see what else is in store!
Throne – Full Moon Sessions
Location: The Netherlands
Dutch underground goblins Throne actually have quite a bit going on with their latest release. At first glance I thought this would be run-of-the-mill black metal filth like so many that been cranking out since the mid-nineties. What I got instead was a raw, doom-laden offering that, while still being definitively blackened and bleak, calls back to Black Sabbath’s grey, rainy, and hopeless early works.
Then, of course, I actually looked at the line-up of the band and realize the pedigree these guys have. With core members that have done time in the incredible Asphyx, and all of this material actually coming from around 1995, when the influence of Norway’s infamous BM scene was reaching critical mass, there’s no wonder that the material contained here is as good as it is. A.J Van Drenth’s vocals are a unique blend of the coldness of then contemporary black metal and more putrid and unhinged grindcore vocal stylings that were coming out of the UK around the same time. The musicianship is otherwise rudimentary, which suits the music just fine and adds to the bleakness of the material.
Full Moon Sessions is definitely worth a look for all of those interested in primitive, doom-laden black metal. Songs like “Bleeding Torment” and “Full Moon Whore” are incredibly raw and violent, but not so over the top as to alienate folks who may have trouble getting their rocks off to more opaque and obscure musics. Recommended.