The term “melodic death metal” kind of has a strange connotation for me because when I hear it, I immediately think of something that will be splashed all over band merch sites with 50 horrible shirt designs with bad colors and even worse jokes. And that’s unfair because there is some really great death metal that is wrapped in melody that will outright rip off your face.
One of those bands is Canadian powerhouse Dungeon Serpent, who are delivering their stellar debut record “World of Sorrows.” The project is the brainchild of Arawn, the sole mastermind behind the music, which is even more astonishing considering how full bodied and completely realized this music is. Over five tracks and 34 minutes, Arawn weaves a deadly fantasy world that he paints with heavy doses of melody and guttural death, a collection that certainly can sweep you up but has no real interest in being approachable. Instead, you’re met with scorching, sophisticated chaos that reminds of when bands first applied this style to the deadliest of arts.
“Necroscape” starts off by blasting onto the battlefield and galloping hard, ravaging bastards with harsh growls and journeying guitars that get your blood flowing. The bass rollicks as every element comes together, causing bruising of your extremities as the pace switches up, getting even gnarlier as the soloing explodes. Things keep blazing as classic metal power is ignited, ramping up hard before ravaging to the finish. “Decay” just crushes when it starts as the growls bubble to the surface, and your blood is sent racing through your veins. Riffs gash as the vocals turn even uglier, then keys rise and fade into the background as the playing retreats into the horizon.
“Immortal Incubation” is filled with animalistic rage, moody guitar work, and vocals that just mangle. The leads jolt again as the pace mauls you, gruff growls drop hammers, and beastly glory rips through your chest. “Cosmic Sorcery” opens with a power metal-style assault and hammering, melodic fury that just piles on ruthlessly. The growls leave scars as the violence is channeled before clean lines jolt, and everything blossoms in full, bringing a super charge of energy. The final moments just bristle with chaos before dissolving into watery keys and a gothy finish. “World of Sorrows” is the 11:31-long instrumental closer that’s quite the adventure, starting with great twin leads and an exploratory section that runs into speed and raucous energy. The playing mashes away as acoustics sweep in, gasping wind as things pick up anew, and the guitars gain momentum. The main riff returns and stirs, leading into a spiral attack that is finished off with chilled acoustic waves.
“World of Sorrows” is an impressive debut outing for Dungeon Serpent, returning the tenets of chaos and madness into melodic death metal. This music doesn’t try to play it slick or sugary; instead, the five tracks here use melody as pathway to deliver a hammering attack that crushes through its own fantasy world. This is a really interesting record, one that might be the first steeping stone of one of death metal’s future leaders.
For more on the band, go here: https://dungeonserpentmdm.bandcamp.com/
To buy the album, go here: https://namelessgraverecords.com/products/32274931-dungeon-serpent-world-of-sorrows-cd
For more on the label, go here: https://namelessgraverecords.com/