The tale behind the debut record from Baltimore’s Serpents Of Secrecy debut full length Ave Vindicta is quite the depressing story. Completed in the wake of the murder of their bassist Rev. Jim Forrester, who also shared time with members in Sixty Watt Shaman, it dropped on Halloween (the Rev’s favourite holiday) on Moving The Earth Records and is fifty minutes of classic doom metal.
It’s a poignant reminder that even the most soulful, groove laden doom can come from a place of darkness and grief. On first listen, you are sucked into a collection of songs that feel like they’re inspired by whisky, Sabbath and blues. Which of course, they are, but knowing the background of the album’s creation you can feel that melancholy, that anger and hopelessness seeping through in moments. The title track throbs with it, the smoke wreathed groove of the raspy Heel Turn is beautiful, and all the while that stunning bass work rides high in the mix. The band knew Jim would want the album completed and released, and his impeccable low end gives this record a real powerful edge.
Serpents Of Secrecy have nailed it here, coupling a stoner doom swagger to an atmosphere of tribute…
The Cheat has some of my favourite guitar work on the whole record; the mellow croon of vocalist Mark Lorenzo gives it a wistful edge, while the solo makes you just want to close your eyes and think of the mountains. Lorenzo also crushes it when he needs to let loose with a primal, full throated roar. The delicate swagger of The Lament is an absolute gem of an instrumental, sodden in a river of blues, while the powerful stride of Dealer’s Choice is proof positive that you cannot beat a storming stoner doom rock out to give you a massive grin. In fact, you’d struggle to find a track on here that isn’t a head nodder at minimum, and that is a real testament to Serpents Of Secrecy.
My only little gripe with Ave Vindicta is that it is a little long, but that’s just me. None of the songs are bad and when they are great, they are really great. Serpents Of Secrecy have nailed it here, coupling a stoner doom swagger to an atmosphere of tribute and celebration of talent. Forrester would be proud of this, as should the rest of the guys be. The groove is addictive brothers and sisters, and we will all be saved by doom in the end. This rocks.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson