Article by: Leanne Ridgeway
Baltimore, Maryland doom outfit SERPENTS OF SECRECY – formed by members of Sixty Watt Shaman, King Giant, Foghound, Borracho, and more – presents their long-awaited debut album, ‘Ave Vindicta‘, confirming it for release this October 31st, Halloween, in homage to the late Rev. Jim Forrester. The band has shared the album’s cover art, preorder info, and the tracks “Warbird’s Song” and “The Cheat” are also available for streaming.
Several years in the making, SERPENTS OF SECRECY has been through overwhelming grief creating the ‘Ave Vindicta’ album. Following a CD single release in 2017, bassist Rev. Jim Forrester (also of Sixty Watt Shaman, Foghound) was murdered on the streets of Baltimore. The band spread the word to help track down the killers while dealing with their own personal loss of their dear friend, while leaving the record to the side as it was just too painful to hear. Finding solace in the fact that Jim would have wanted the album to see completion and release, the band finally forged their way through and locked into the final stages of creating the record. Having completed the record in recent weeks, the band is now extremely proud of the final product and is ready to present ‘Ave Vindicta‘. The album will see release on Halloween, Forrester’s favorite holiday.
A massive eleven-song recording, SERPENTS OF SECRECY‘s ‘Ave Vindicta‘ delivers more than fifty-two minutes of hard rocking, classic doom metal. With Rev. Jim Forrester‘s bass riding high in the mix, guitarist Todd Ingram (King Giant, Pimmit Hills), drummer Chuck Dukehart III (Foghound, Sixty Watt Shaman), guitarist Steve Fisher (Borracho), and vocalist Mark Lorenzo (Zekiah, Crawler) create an album as inwardly personal as it is thundering to the passing listener. The songs are clearly rooted in and fed by the fertile doom metal their hometown and surrounding area is internationally known for yielding, with an overwhelming bounty of powerful, dynamic, grooves delivered from an intensely soulful core.
‘Ave Vindicta‘ was engineered by J. Robbins and Matt Redenbo and recorded and mixed by J. Robbins at Magpie Cage Studio (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Government Issue) in Baltimore, Maryland, with the keyboards engineered and recorded for “The Cheat” and “Dealer’s Choice” by Adam Micalczu at Empire Studios in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio in New Windsor, New York. The album is completed with cover art by Joe “Joweone” Nasatka, photography by Shane K. Gardner, and graphics by Bill Kole. ‘Ave Vindicta‘ features guest keyboards on “The Cheat” and “Dealer’s Choice” by Mark Calcott and by J. Robbins on “Bleeding Still.”
SERPENTS OF SECRECY will release ‘Ave Vindicta‘ through their own new Moving The Earth Records on Halloween, Saturday, October 31st on CD and via all digital platforms. Stream the songs “Warbird’s Song” and “The Cheat” below: Find preorders at Bandcamp [HERE].
01. Ave Vindicta
02. Heel Turn
03. The Cheat
04. Time Crushes All
06. Warbird’s Song
07. Orphan’s Dream
08. Dealer’s Choice
09. Bleeding Still
10. Broke The Key
11. In The Lock
It was two years to the day since their brother and bandmate Rev. Jim Forrester was murdered on the streets of Baltimore, and it was the first time they had been in the same room together for almost as long. They had assembled to finish the album they had started with Jim. Everything just clicked.
“We’d often talked about getting in the jam room to figure out what we wanted to do for this solo or a vocal part or a melodic figure between verses, but it just never happened. Sometimes it was due to schedule conflicts, but I know personally it was often too painful to listen to the songs,” says guitarist Todd Ingram. He adds, “I hadn’t listened to the album in many, many months. I’d start to and then I just hit the stop button with my eyes welled up. I drove to the studio feeling bad. I felt I’d let my brother down by not spending hours preparing like I would do normally. But that feeling soon disappeared as everything from vocals and guitar parts were getting nailed in just one take.“
“We’d look at each other and say, ‘Well that’s badass. No need to mess with that at all,‘” offers vocalist Mark Lorenzo. Inspiration continued as Chuck Dukehart decided to add kettle drums to the instrumental track “Lament.” Guitarist Steve Fisher adds, “Ideas were flowing effortlessly. I was listening to playbacks of ‘Lament’ and I thought, “Yeah, this needs a slide guitar track.” “Steve’s slide work was perfect. It really brought out the haunting quality in that piece,” adds Ingram.
Lorenzo continues, “I had this idea for a preacher like call and response with Steve at the end of ‘In the Lock,’ and then after listening to the playback, Chuck comes up with the idea for hand claps, foot stomps, and Gospel-like background vocals. Next thing we know all four of us are doing Rev Jim Gospel hour. It was a blast. Sort of a tongue in cheek homage to our brother. We knew he’d be cracking up at the whole scene.”
“At the end of that last session we knew we had finished the work in a way that would meet Jim’s approval, and we couldn’t help but think Jim had guided the parts… It was that effortless.” reveals Ingram.
Chuck Dukehart adds, “This weekend we’re going to shoot a video with Shane Gardner who is also an amazing photographer. The video will encompass the last two tracks on the album, ‘Broke The Key’ and ‘In The Lock,’ so look for that to come out around the same time the album drops. We chose Jim’s favorite day of the year October 31st. Ultimately this is Jim’s album and he’d have wanted it that way.“
SERPENTS OF SECRECY:
Rev. Jim Forrester – bass
Todd Ingram – guitar
Chuck Dukehart III – drums
Mark Lorenzo – vocals
Steve Fisher – guitar