(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
One of the most anxiously awaited newer bands from the underground heavy rock scene, the Maryland-based Serpents Of Secrecy, have arrived, people! This bona-fide “supergroup” contains a veritable who’s who of the MD./VA. music realm and after intense anticipation, these vipers have struck.
Revealing themselves via recent live shows, including a barnstorming set at last month’s Maryland Doom Fest III, the quintet are now slaying audiences regularly. The photos in this article were shot by Shane K. Gardner (Rock N Roll Socialite), during their MDDF set.
Just in case you’ve been under a rock somewhere in recent months, that quintet is vocalist Mark Lorenzo (Zekiah), guitarists Todd ‘T.I.‘ Ingram (King Giant) and Steve Fisher (Borracho), and bassist Reverend Jim Forrester and drummer Chuck Dukeheart III (both currently in Foghound, both formerly of Sixty Watt Shaman).
In fact, there’s a whole lot happening from the S.O.S. den right now, as the band recently signed with Salt Of The Earth Records. They have has been busy working with the famed producer J. Robbins (Clutch, Coliseum, The Bakerton Group) on their eventual full-length début for the label, “Ave Vindicta“.
Until that release is finally unleashed upon the masses, Serpents Of Secrecy have just dispersed the two-track “Uncoiled – The Singles” offering to acquaint us with what they’re all about.
Rest assured, what they are all about is rocking… but rocking in such a way that’s broadly multifaceted and possesses serious depth. The two cuts rendered on the EP, “Warbird’s Song” and “The Cheat“, are fine examples of this. They are as different from one another as the sun is from the moon, as the east is from the west, as venom is from spittle. So, let’s break these tracks down, shall we?
“Warbird’s Song” – With a headlong charge right off the line and energy levels in the red, this thing takes flight right from the start. A groove so dense it has gravitational pull, the riffs ring out while the rhythms pound. Once Lorenzo‘s emotion-tinged, gravelly vocals join the fray, there is no turning back.
An evident southern bent riveted into place within the song, the oft-times dizzying tempos periodically throttle down for the more melodic choruses. When Mark wails out those cries of “Awakening! And we’re never gonna be the same!“, it’s prophetic really, for we cannot go back after hearing this. Also worthy of mentioning here is Chuck‘s phenomenal kit-work, like anchor and generator both, if perfection does exist then this is it.
“The Cheat” – A snake of an altogether different skin, the quintet pull off an instant one-eighty with this one’s somber, mellow start. Like their partial namesake, a slithering pace unfolds as a dark, haunting vibe emanates from the music itself. It’s there that things gradually ebb and flow while an intriguing tale develops in the lyrics themselves.
At times doomy, at times bluesy, this is a song where each member of the band truly shines at their appointed time. When I originally heard a snippet of this track awhile back, I told Rev. Jim that it revealed the “soulful” side of the band. The guitars’ ever-changing tones and overall emphasis fuel the track to traverse a multitude of styles within the confines of this one offering. In turn, they are bolstered by the Richter Scale-worthy rhythmic tremors generated by Rev and III, and Mark’s own performance is masterful. Plus, we have to throw props to Mark Calcott for his keyboard contributions on this number.
Speaking of numbers, Serpents Of Secrecy have your number and it is two… for now… these two, here. These singles serve as superbly stellar introductions to what we all hope is going to be a full-time project from these five.
In fact, I recently sat down at the Maryland Doom Fest and interviewed four of the five S.O.S. members in an audio/video interview, where we discussed that hope and a hell of a lot more. That exchange will be coming to Riff Relevant soon, so keep your eyes and ears open for it.
Until then, this. “Uncoiled – The Singles” is available for streaming via Bandcamp below, as well as purchase at a more than reasonable price here. Enjoy and get yer ass snakebit now!