Serpentine Dominion – “Serpentine Dominion” (Metal Blade Records)
For those of you who don’t know, Serpentine Dominion is a death metal super group trio made up of Cannibal Corpse’s George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher, drummer Shannon Lucas formerly of The Black Dahlia Murder’s and Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz – along with vocalist Jesse Leach who penned most of the lyrics to the album! The origins of the project date back to 2006’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival which all 3 bands were part of, and where Dutkiewicz first approached Fisher for a collaboration, tapping Lucas in the process. Naturally with full time commitments in each of their bands, things have taken a while before the issuance of this long awaited debut – but it’s been worth it! Right from the off, I’ll say this isn’t Killswitch Engage part II glossed over by Fisher. Anyone who knows the Cannibal Corpse vocalist will know how distinct – indeed how definitive – his sound is and that’s clearly not lost on Dutkiewicz’s admiration of him, composing music that I believe has not only been written specifically for the underground legend, but also allows the guitarist himself to produce something far more extreme and fast than in Killswitch, made all more achievable by Lucas’s propelling precision drum work. The result is more technical death metal with plenty of spiraling riffs and virtuosic fretboard burning solos played at incredible speed around the shit heavy gravity of Fisher’s vocals, all of which is fed by the energy of Lucas’s blistering drums. That said, there’s also a lot of subtle metalcore in the melodies and background shout outs on songs like ‘Divide, Conquer, Burn and Destroy‘ and ‘Jagged Cross Legions’, while the closer of ‘This Endless War’ is much more of an egalitarian collaboration with more metalcore and even some clean singing from Dutkiewicz alongside the bear growls of the aptly named ‘Corpsegrinder’! All in all a worthy and enjoyable release that should satiate those who have waited so long for this, and even if a follow up is a long way off, this self titled release will stand its own ground as a mark of the achievement made here.