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.