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Serpents of Secrecy: Ave Vindicta

Music often connects with grief in ways that we don’t always recognize. It’s definitely there in lyrics about loss and pain, but it can also be heard in harmonies, rhythms, and melodies. Sometimes music helps us carry our sadness and sometimes it just lets us sit with it until we are ready to let other things in. I mention this because this album has a strong connection to loss and grief and despair. While this album was in its early stages, one of the band members, Rev. Jim Forrester, was murdered outside of the tattoo shop where he worked. Though Serpents of Secrecy was a fairly new project, Forrester was part of better-known bands like Foghound and Sixty Watt Shaman. There was eventually an arrest for the suspected killer, but the impact of Forrester’s death hit everyone hard. Eventually, the band decided that Forrester would have wanted them to keep going, and so the band finished the album and released it on Halloween, Forrester’s favorite holiday.

The music on this album is a mixture of doom metal and heavy rock, something you expect to hear in a smoky club long after most people have gone to bed. It’s heavy and dark and swaggering and soulful. Forrester’s bass comes through loud and clear in the mix. “The Cheat” highlights his strong sense of groove, especially at the beginning. But it was “Lament” that really stood out to me for the bass playing. At its core is another groove riff that quickly turns hypnotic in its repetition. Backing it up is a slide guitar lament that is haunting and sad. The drummer, who uses kettle drums on this track, sits back a little but his subtlety is just enough to enhance the effect of the whole. This is the album at its saddest point. It also happens to be one of the best tracks.

The rest of album is mostly harder and louder, a rocking romp that might even clear the mind of grief, if only for a moment. I’d suggest checking out the last two tracks, “Broke the Key” and “In the Lock” because they close out the album with a hard rocking song that morphs into a playful nod to their fallen friend.

Other highlights worth checking out are “Ave Vindicta,” a groovy doom piece that highlights Mark Lorenzo’s vocal talents. He has a deep voice that gives this band a classic heavy rocking feel. Even though there are also plenty of shouts here, too, it’s nice to hear some melodic vocals from time to time. I also enjoyed “Warbird’s Song” for mostly the same reasons. It has a hard-driving riff and some terrific energy. There’s even a slight hint of cowbell on this one. “Bleeding Still” was also pretty solid. I especially liked the way it slowly built into something massive and defiant.

Overall, this is an impressive debut that fans of heavy rock and doom should enjoy. It’s also a nice tribute to the band’s fallen friend.

Track Listing:
1. Ave Vindicta
2. Heel Turn
3. The Cheat
4. Time Crushes All
5. Lament
6. Warbird’s Song
7. Orphan’s Dream
8. Dealer’s Choice
9. Bleeding Still
10. Broke the Key
11. In the Lock

Added: December 17th 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Webpage
Hits: 769
Language: english

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