Serpentine Dominion – Serpentine Dominion (Metal Blade)

Genre: Death Metal/Extreme Metal

George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher hooking up with Killswitch Engage’s resident goofball Adam Dutkiewicz for a new project? Serpentine Dominion has certainly raised a few eyebrows among death metal puritans – but the KSE axeslinger is a remarkable talent, and having pestered Cannibal Corpse growler Fisher to work with him seven years ago, he now has his reward.

With lyrics by KSE’s Jesse Leach and former Black Dahlia Murder sticksman Shannon Lucas manning the kit, Serpentine Dominion is no musos’ kick about: it’s deadly serious. Dutkiewicz knows his death metal, knows how to mix grace with ferocity in his riff writing, knows how to pull the trigger and when to hold back: Jagged Cross Legions is a prime example, part mid-paced ‘Corpse brutality, part Gothenburg melodeath, all class, it’s a fine song… even though the injection of clean vocals from Dutkiewicz might be a little much for extremists.

This debut is short and sweet, despite being years in the making, but it’s an album shorn of fat, an opus that makes its points hard, fast and sharp. And there are a plenty of highlights. Sovereign Hate starts with a dramatic, majestic intro before unleashing a barrage of vicious riffery, Divide, Conquer, Burn, Destroy mixes old school death dynamics with a contemporary polish, This Endless War closes proceedings with an adrenaline-fuelled display that fuses around 30 years of musical evolution into one big ball of metallic fury.

Perhaps Serpentine Dominion is just a one off – but you get the feeling Adam and George have plenty more up their sleeves. Let’s hope they come back for round two.