Release DetailsLABEL One Day Savior Records
RELEASED ON 2/28/2006
posted on 3/2006 By:
A slower, heavier, but less polished version of Darkest Hour or Poison the Well...
Just when I think I’m ready to stick a fork in metalcore, a couple of records come along and impress the shit out if me. One being Hourglass from The Hope for Change and this very capable self titled debut from Memphis, Tennessee’s Serapis.
Where Darkest Hour focus on tight, razor sharp riffage, Serapis are more inclined to pummel you with slow, rumbling grooves and some downright nasty breakdowns. The album is by a large, pretty mid paced (almost doomy in some places, ala Withered) and foreboding with a few thrashier, up tempo moments thrown in. I doubt you will hear a more oppressive metalcore track than “Nancy-Leper” all year. Even when cranking up the urgency, it’s never a tech heavy noodle fest, but a controlled, familiar Euro-trot (“A 21 Gun Salute”, “Emmanuel-Assassin”, “Mildred Messenger”-even with its 311 like chorus). And still most of the ‘fast’ tracks contain an impressive array of pacing and some monstrous breakdowns (“21 Gun Salute” especially). There’s even some bluesy groove that surfaces for album closer “The Clock Monologue”.
However, it’s the large amount of slower, more dense tracks that give this album some core shattering character; the angular lope of “Shatner Mask” and “The Ancient Saber Zumicons”, are essential one long pummeling breakdown. The aforementioned “Nancy-Leper” is a vast sludgefest, “Bell South in Cm”, staggers with heft but is laced with cleverly utilized clean vocals. and “So Loved Friends” is just downright caustic. At times Serapis sounds like someone put firecrackers in Poison the Well’s collective asscrack and gave them 500mg of valium before they play live; incredibly pissed off but slurring and staggering way through their set.
I’m not ready to throw Serapis in the Isis style genre though, the band still shows their metalcore roots by virtue of the dual harmonies, dual screamed/growled vocals, some well done clean vocals and general prose and posture, but to their credit, it's not utterly obvious. The production is stout and biting, clearly highlighting the slower riffs and almost suffocating the faster moments, but it works well as a whole. Either way, this is a record I really enjoyed, its thunderous moments got me slamming pretty hard and its restrained core persona, made it far less cookie cutter material.
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