The Sardinian band Deathcrush have been growing in hideous strength over the course of a career that’s now almost two decades long. For such a long life, their discography is relatively limited, with the most prominent releases being two studio albums and one live album (the sign of a preference for quality over quantity). Their third album, Under Serpents Reign, is now set for release on April 26th (tomorrow!) by Time To Kill Records.
If you knew nothing about the band’s music, their name alone would give you a clue. And most definitely, crushing death metal inspired by the likes of Morbid Angel, Immolation, and Deicide, has been a key ingredient in their blasphemous discharges of fury. But it’s not the only ingredient, as you would know if you heard the changes reflected in their second full-length, 2017’s Hell, as compared to their debut album Collective Brain Infektion (2013).
The new album seems like a continued evolution, one that integrates the more brutal ravages of the debut and the more blackened atmospherics of the second full-length, and then does even more to distinguish itself. You’ll have the chance to learn this for yourselves today as we present a full stream of Under Serpents Reign.
As a 47-minute excursion, the new record has a lot to offer. It seems evident that the band were determined not to run listeners through the same kind of gauntlet over and over for all those minutes — though to be sure, the album as a whole is indeed a vast and dangerous gauntlet through hellish turmoils, for which the maestro Paolo Girardi has provided fair warning in his stunning cover painting.
Hell is at war with heaven and its rotten clerical disciples, in the music and the lyrics as well as in the visuals, and the fight is a stunningly vicious one. Deathcrush launch assaults of eye-popping intensity and breathtaking savagery, discharging bursts of hyper-blasting percussion and wild, frenzied riffing, with those infernal forces mounting their attacks under the command of tyrannical roars, gargantuan gutturals, and strangled screams, all of them expelled from a throat clotted with bone and blood.
The fretwork seethes, darts, and slashes with utmost viciousness, and the band segment their eruptions of violent delirium with brazenly imperious chords, swirling and soaring arpeggios that seem like manifestations of horrid ecstasy, and thunderous pile-driver blows that strike with bone-smashing, concrete-splitting impact.
The fury in the music is white-hot, the power is massive, and the combined effect is electrifying, like an overpowering stormfront. But you’ll quickly notice how well-written the songs are. Although relentlessly punishing, the megaton grooves (often inflicted with a start-stop momentum that makes them even more jolting) are physically compulsive, and the melodies, though utterly fiendish or stricken by moods of apocalyptic desolation, get their hooks in the head and become potent mood-changers.
Because this is a war between Hell and heaven, the band also create a sense of towering scale. They shift tempos into more mid-paced moments to deepen the scale of misery as well. “No Heaven Awaits”, which also features a stunningly evocative guitar solo and bleak but soaring melodies, is one such example, though there are others, including the follow-on track “Deamonology”.
The mesmerizing but mournful instrumental piece “Deathmarch To Obscurity”, which features classical piano and a trilling guitar, is an even bigger change, and at other moments the band bring in even softer and more mysterious accents (as in the interlude within “Black Thelema”) to enhance the dynamism of the experience.
And so to sum up: Under Serpents Reign is stunning in many respects — massive in its power, towering in its scale, remorseless in its viciousness, strongly evocative of both hellish turmoil and crushing desolation, and likely the kind of album people will come back to again and again. Not for naught does Time To Kill recommend the album for fans of Hour of Penance and early Fleshgod Apocalypse, of Immolation and Aeon, of Behemoth and Belphegor. See for yourselves:
The album was recorded and mixed in Sassari at Andy Mornar‘s RedWarlock Studio between February and March 2021, while the mastering was carried out at the Hertz Studio (Poland). It’s available for pre-order now.
Luigi Cara – Bass and Vocals
Giampiero Serra – Drums
Andrea Sechi – Guitars
Luigi Porceddu – Live session Guitars