Serberus — Our Dying Grace (2001)

02.11.2001  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano

This may seem unusual, but I’d like to start my critique by thanking Serberus for sending me this disc, which has served to reaffirm my faith in melodic death metal. While the power and intensity of this genre’s «first wave» bands is indisputable, each subsequent generation has proven to be largely inadequate. There are exceptions here and there (Darkane and Seven Day Curse come to mind), but even the most undiscerning fan doesn’t dare mention the likes of Shadow’s Fall, Darkest Hour, or The Forsaken in the same breath as Carnage, At The Gates, or Dismember.

I had just about given up when this five song EP by Colorado-based Serberus turned up in my mailbox. The packaging and band logo did little to give away the disc’s contents, and experience has shown me that this is often a good thing. After listening to a brief intro track («Prologue»), I was treated to the darkly melodic title track, which almost seems a homage to the early works of scene luminaries such as In Flames and Gates of Ishtar. The song ends with the sounds of a looming thunderstorm, which I admit is not original by any means. But there is an element of realism amongst the rolling thunder and pounding rain that separates this bit of atmosphere from the usual «cheesy horror film» ambience that so many bands achieve (perhaps intentionally).

The remaining tracks continue in the same vein, with plenty of agile riffing from guitarists Dave Oterro and Ivan Alcala and a strong performance by drummer Corey Melanson. The bass of Patrick Russell tends to get a bit buried in the mix at times, but the man creates a formidable backdrop to keep things anchored and steady. These guys have apparently been laboring together for quite some time, as the chemistry between them is obvious. Overall, I would say that «Our Dying Grace» is a satisfying, yet very short listen at just under 24 minutes in length. One of my favorite tracks is the thrashing frenzy of «Ancient Throne», and it would have been interesting to see Serberus expand on it rather than fading out at the five-minute mark. Ditto for «Curse of the Gods», which stings with a raucous ferocity that is far too uncommon these days. However, the band has compensated for the disc’s short duration by including a large array of multimedia features. There are live videos, an interview, and Serberus’ previous EP (entitled «In Eternity») in mp3 format. When a band puts this much effort into giving fans an all-encompassing musical experience, you can be assured that their intentions are in the right place.

All in all, I would feel justified in recommending this band to anyone with even a passing interest in Euro-style death metal. The production is crisp, the musicianship is tight, and the songwriting is solid. You just can’t ask for much more than this.

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