Review Summary: The Black Cannibal Killswitch? Engage Black Dahlia's Corpse? I give up.
Amongst the anticipation of what will become of a bunch of celebrated artists, within heavy metal, melding their brains together, there is always a sense of reservation whenever the term ‘Supergroup’ is mentioned. Obviously, there are a few exceptions: Down and Bloodbath are two bands that have gained such an impressive reception that they are celebrated nearly as such as the bands that initially sprouted them. However, some groups, like Killer Be Killed or Storm Corrosion, gained no more than a fleeting tremor of excitement and thus, will likely result in no further work.
More often than not, the biggest praises that a supergroup will receive is the impressiveness of the lineup, whether it is in terms of how diverse, similar or creative each member may be. Serpentine Dominion consists of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse, vocals), Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage, guitars and bass) and Shannon Lucas (ex-The Black Dahlia Murder, drums). The group was founded in 2009 at Rockstar Mayhem Festival after Adam D wrote some songs and asked Fisher, specifically, to sing them.
Therefore, Serpentine Dominion is the latest extravaganza to grace this year with a debut album. But with the amount of incredible albums released this year, will Serpentine Dominion actually make a worthwhile impression or will it earn nothing more than the title of: ‘just another supergroup’"
Upon first listen, the singular thing this self titled debut album certainly does is hit hard. After a brief and swelling intro, ‘The Vengeance In Me’ unhesitatingly strides straight into death metal territories, armed with an arsenal of spiralling solos and spiteful riffs. With a singer and drummer originating from death metal, it’s fair to say that the majority of this 26 minute album was always going to take the form of the specified subgenre more than anything else. ‘Sovereign Hate’ and ‘Divide, Conquer, Burn and Destroy’ further exemplify the ferociousness and complexity that death metal exhibits, with Adam D and Shannon Lucas violently utilising their commanding melodies with grim gracefulness.
There are some uplifting moments in this album though; the fact that the lyrics were penned entirely by the Killswitch Engage front man, Jesse Leach, brings an accessible element to the music. ‘Vanquished Unto Me’ features Adam D’s clean vocals that definitely emit a Killswitch Engage vibe. Corpsegrinder bellows out in his typically barking growls during ’On The Brink of Devastation’ and ’This Endless War’ however, with Jesse’s anti-governmental lyrics, it’s peculiarly catchy to hear Corpsegrinder growl over something that doesn’t bring to mind torture, gore or any of those ordinary conversation starters.
Unless there are further plans for this supergroup, Serpentine Dominion will probably end up disintegrating. “Serpentine Dominion” was created for the sheer enjoyment factor of the band members collaborating together. This is exactly what the album demonstrates: it’s nothing more than an enjoyable spin. Although, it’s heartening to know that this was all it was ever intended to be, rather than a serious project ending up with forgettable music, like so many other supergroups.