Impending Doom is a band you may have never heard of, but you shouldn't have any trouble guessing what genre they play. If the band name doesn't give it away immediately, the creepy one-eyed monk with a snake on the album art certainly will. Yes, this is death metal.
The Serpent Servant is Impending Doom's second release on Facedown records. Their first release featured everything chaotic and strange that you would expect from death metal, while this album moves more in the direction of metalcore. The guitars are low, crunchy, and grinding, with only the occasional riff and virtually no solos. The drums hammer away with an almost mechanical sound. The vocals are guttural and almost completely monotone. Don't expect any sort of melody involved, because you won't find it.
My first exposure to this album was a stream of the track "More Than Conquerors." This initial listen excited me, because the song has some nice dirty riffs and an underlying energy that reminded me a lot of old Living Sacrifice. Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn't measure up. If I could pick one nasty habit of modern metal that needs to die right now, it's the habit of making every track one long breakdown session. Impending Doom seems devoted to this trend. The rhythm of nearly every song sounds as if it was designed to slowly drive the listener to sleep. Speed is not a word that comes to mind. The vocals are equally slow and non-exciting. It's unfortunate, because this band clearly has the talent to make high quality metal, as heard in "More Than Conquerors," and in moments of inspiration on "Storming The Gates Of Hell." But these moments are few and far between. At least they resisted the temptation to make every song longer than necessary, which is another bad habit in metal.
On the positive side, Impending Doom pulls no punches as regards lyrical content. "The Serpent Servant" speaks out against fake religion and hypocrisy. "Anything Goes" attacks materialism and moral relativism. "When I Speak" is brutally honest about the need for sincerity in our witness and not trying to shove our faith down others' throats. It is an ironic message put against the chaos of metal, but it is true nonetheless. Finally, "Beginnings" expresses the need to die and be raised again in Christ.
Impending Doom is a band that can achieve more. There are a few tracks on The Serpent Servant that give the listener a true idea of what this band can do. It would be nice to see this talent developed, but for now, The Serpent Servant is nothing more than average.- Review date: 4/8/09, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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