Review: “Under Serpents Reign” by Deathcrush

It’s been a long hard ride out of hell for Sardinian Death Metal quartet Deathcrush who formed back in 2003 and have a short discography that after a couple of demos and singles started in 2007 with EP “Extreme Claustrophobic Terror“. That lead to 2013 debut album “Collective Brain Infektion” which was followed by 2017 sophomore record “Hell” and in the years that followed the band toured Europe twice and played the Las Vegas Death Fest in the US. 2019 was their last confession, a live album recorded in Poland titled “Spreading the Pest” but now a new era is dawning. Recorded and mixed in Sassari at Andy Mornar’s RedWarlock Studio between February and March 2021 with mastering carried out at the Hertz Studio in Poland (Decapitated, Behemoth, Vader), the bands highly anticipated third studio album “Under Serpents Reign” is adorned by artwork by Paolo Girardi.

Deathcrush have long been a band who embrace a form of Death Metal with a blackened and often blasphemous edge in the tradition of the 90’s era, following the left hand path of bands like Immolation, Morbid Angel and Deicide, embracing the intensity and heat of napalm as they spread the fires of furious minds and black hearts. “Under Serpents Reign” offers up eight fresh cuts with an introduction and interlude adding to the atmospheric of total annihilation and apocalypse that the band have created from the rampaging riffs of “Beheading Jehovah Prophet” to the skulduggery of “From Servant to Warfare“. Giampiero Serra is a master behind the kit, producing an album wide performance of the finest order that stands alongside genre greats like Kevin Talley (Chimaria, Dying Fetus) and Gene Hoglan (Dethlokk, Strapping Young Lad) in metronomically perfect rhythmic patterns that sound like a thunderous artillery shelling. Bursts of blasting percussion are conjoined to riffing so frenzied that fretboards are left smoking and fingers calloused from the intensity of the performance.

The band offer a wealth of extended instrumental passages of pure fire and headbangable groove, most notably with the track before building a brooding and menacing dynamic with muscular prowess on “No Heaven Awaits“. That has a ripper of a solo and a fleeting acoustic moment of bleak melody that escapes the fury momentarily giving the larynx threatening gravelly growls of Luigi Cara a few seconds reset. He’s a Death Metal frontman in the traditional sense and as the tales of the war between heaven and hell unfold the stature of the band grows, his gargantuan guttural roars those of a fire breathing beast with blackened lungs. The darkness of the bleak acoustic orchestrated closing of “Black Thelema” is a stunning left turn of psychological horror proportions that is as unexpected as the sudden strike of the knife in the back. A mesmerising moment echoed in the middle of “From Servant to Warfare” that makes the violent eruptions of imperious riffs and swirling arpeggios sound even more powerful. Fiendishly constructed and instantly gratifying with an ocean of hooks that sink their barbs into your brain and towering inferno scale, this is one that continues the quality over quantity that Deathcrush have made their mantra over what is approaching two decades of destruction [8/10]

Track listing

1. Apocalypse Of The Fallen Empire
2. Beheading Jehovah Prophet
3. Under Serpents Reign
4. No Heaven Awaits
5. Daemonology (Symphonies Of The Devil)
6. Thy Sovereign
7. Deathmarch To Obscurity
8. Black Thelema
9. Wolfskull
10. From Servant to Warfare

Under Serpents Reign” by Deathcrush is out 26th April 2022 (with vinyl editions shipping on 2nd May) via Time To Kill Records and available over at bandcamp

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