Serpent Smiles and Killer Eyes is probably going to go down as the experimental album in the Hatesphere catalog as the band is obviously trying to expand its audience parameters. For those of you who have not heard them before, they are a death/thrash hybrid with a greater emphasis on the "thrash" element; you will also find the songs embellished with a bit of groove ala Pantera as well. The music does not offer much in the way of technical complexity; though a thick heavy crunch is the predominating factor that ties the whole production together. The vocals (Jacob Bredahl) are of the hardcore yelling variety with some death grunts and screams thrown in for sport. When Bredahl is focusing on the latter he can be quite convincing and enjoyable, but I have never been too fond of anything core related and your proximal distance to that aspect will certainly shape your own musical analysis. What remains clear is that he is extremely versatile in his delivery and I can see him collecting a fair share of fans because of that.
The songs on Serpent Smiles… contain melody, but not enough to make them a hokey sing-a-long. There is a focus on making a communal connection through rhythmic brutality and this aspect is very much appreciated. Also, there is a tendency to experiment with more breakdowns and dynamic texture, along with slower tempos for a little more groove and grind. I do wish there were more guitar solos throughout the songs because it probably would have added an extra star to this review! Some extra shred would add a little more credibility to the thrash motif that they operate in. Guitar solos in thrash were/are a major tenant of the movements' expression and I would ask the band to keep that in mind the next time out. Not to say that there are not any to be found here. You just have to wait for the last quarter of the disc to get them. When those opportunities arise, they definitely let you know their former absence is not due to a lack of ability.
Professional and compelling come to mind when considering this Danish thrash attack. If you like your new wave of European thrash/death mixed with a little Hatebreed style continental blending, you might want to grab this one.
1. Lies and Deceit
2. The Slain
3. Damned Below Judas
4. Drinking with the King of the Dead
5. Forever War
6. Feeding the Demons
8. Let Them Hate