Whether it be “these days,” “those days,” or whatever days, execution still accounts for a lot in the world of death metal, and Serpent Obscene possess it in spades. Sure, Serpent Obscene, the quintet’s debut album, saliently shows their influences — a smattering of early Vader here, a dose of Deicide there, a helping each from Morbid Angel’s various periods all over the place — and, as such, Serpent Obscene might lack what a wiser man would call a clear-cut identity, but with such a mixed bag of blood n’ guts, fitting them all into place takes…(gulp) guts. However, there’s a certain lack of logic going on here, one of which actually makes the album that much better: these dudes are from Sweden; oddly enough, no Grave-robbing and Dismembering of Entombed riffs takes place here. If anything, Serpent Obscene nod to the past far more, but perhaps more covertly, than they do to the present. From the old-school level-of-bad song titles (“Violent Torture,” “Evil Rites,” “Sadistic Abuse,” “Morbid Horror” — and the hits just keep comin’) to vokillist Erik Tormentor’s Repulsion/pre-prog Death-esque hiss to the general seamlessness of their disarray ala Dark Angel or Abattoir or post-Seven Churches Possessed (really, take your pick of any mid-’80s Bay Area thrash casualty), Serpent Obscene unselfconsciously emanate a delightfully rank vibe unlike most others in the death-metal realm. So, after doing some crackpot math, maybe their nods to the past will become nods to the future, or maybe not. So, dude, get on with it already — like, is this any good? Yes.
Necropolis, P.O. Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539-4815; http://www.necropolisrec.com