Formed by members current and past of the mighty SIXTY WATT SHAMAN, KING GIANT and more, Baltimore’s SERPENTS OF SECRECY has Maryland Doom in its rattling bones from the start, the fuzzed out bass of dear, departed bassist Rev. Jim Forrester leading the slow and low charge in the title track. Fluid yet fang’ed, elements of bands as varied as SOLACE and FOGHAT (who were actually a pretty heavy live band) show up in ‘Heel Turn’, which carries on through the syrupy sludge of ‘Time Crushes All’, the early Cornell tinting to vocalist Mark Lorenzo’s delivery dripping over the tune like bittersweet memories of a much-missed friend.
While instrumental ‘Lament’ isn’t “bad” by any stretch, and does provide a respite from the prior pummeling (it seems a couple songs too early in Ave Vindicta for such), the big pimpin’ strut of ‘Warbird’s Song’ quickly enough snaps to. SERPENTS OF SECRECY may be straight Mid-Atlantic, but there’s the formerly alluded to nascent SOUNDGARDEN and dirt rock SKIN YARD all over Ave Vindicta, as witnessed in my personal pick of the album, ‘Orphan’s Dream’. I don’t know whose idea it was not to have a cowbell in ‘Dealer’s Choice’, but the funky shuffle found in the tune more than makes up for its lack, and ‘Broke The Key’ rivals ‘Warbird’s Song’ in sheer, unbridled passion and its 1-2 punch riff/rhythms.
Finally, ‘In The Lock’ starts off as a smoky, blues crawl, quickly transforming into big tent revival backwoods church service, an Irish wake-rivalling send-off and send-up for Rev. Jim, to the point you can almost hear the change hitting the bottom of the 5-gallon buckets as you wait for the healing (Yes, Lord!) to begin.
Pass them snakes on ‘round, brothers and sisters…
Review By: Lord Randall
SERPENTS OF SECRECY
Moving The Earth Records
4.5 / 6