Album Review: SERPENTINE DOMINION Serpentine Dominion
What do you get when you take one of the forefathers of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal and put him in a band with death metal's arguably most iconic vocalist and one of the best drummers modern metal has to offer? Freaking Serpentine Dominion, that's what. It's been a long time coming, but the much buzzed about side project featuring Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse and former The Black Dahlia Murder drummer Shannon Lucas has finally released their self-titled debut, and it was every bit worth the wait. Serpentine Dominion is one of the most fun, straightforward and downright badass metal albums to be released this year.
The aptly titled "Intro" kicks things off, with a nice melody that teases the listener into thinking this might be a rehash of Adam D.'s main project…but then "The Vengeance in Me" comes roaring and sheds any notion of that. Dissonant harmonics, groove-laden riffs and the signature bark of Corpsegrinder set the tone for what to expect from the album. At just over 26 minutes long, the self-titled debut from this destructive trio of metal maestros flies by and leaves the listener begging for more, but its brief length also adds to the addictive nature of the album. Simply put, those 26 minutes are crammed with so many crunchy, concussive riffs and just the right amount of melody that it's impossible not to go back and revisit the album several times in a row.
Serpentine Dominion strikes an almost perfect balance between brutality and melody. Adam D. contributes clean vocals to tracks such as "Vanquished Onto Thee" and the epic album closer "This Endless War," and though hearing cleans sung alongside the abrasiveness of Corpsegrinder might seem an odd combination, it works surprisingly well. Sure, the "Killswitch-isms" are inevitable when Adam D. is involved, but Serpentine Dominion serves as a chance for him to let loose and pay homage to the death metal bands from the '90s who were clearly so influential on him in his formative years as a musician. Of course, it wouldn't be the same project without Corpsegrinder and Shannon Lucas, who both absolutely kill it on this record as well.
The only downside to the record is its short length, but that's a minor qualm when the music is of this caliber. No matter what kind of metalhead one might consider oneself, there's something for everybody on Serpentine Dominion. It's hard to say what was expected when this project was announced, but it's safe to say that Serpentine Dominion has exceeded all expectations. Here's hoping this isn't just a one-off album and that Serpentine Dominion can become a full-fledged death metal juggernaut in the future; they definitely have the potential to be so.