I’ve never understood the argument “oh they’re talented, they just don’t write good songs.”
Uh, what? Isn’t part of being both talented individuals and a talented band the ability to write compelling material? Because hell, anyone who can play the guitar is more talented than me at it, because I’ve never learned, but that doesn’t make them talented on the whole. Such is the general problem with Serapis.
For all intents and purposes, the individual members are ‘talented.’ They can play their instruments beyond just a “let’s go lightning fast” capacity, and their songs don’t all sound the same, yet, their self-titled release is inherently boring. Could it be I’m just growing tired with heavy music all around? I’d like to think not, but the fact remains that this self-titled venture is one incapable of holding my attention for longer than a song or two.
And I can’t really think of a concrete explanation as to why.
Don’t get me wrong, these songs are well done, all pulled together by the exceptionally strong and varied vocals of the band's singer, but something is amiss. The vocals are always the first thing I notice, and here, there’s a lot to like. Alternating between a thrashy screech, a deep growl, and a rather basic raspy delivery, the screaming holds up over the 30-minute duration of the album. As does the instrumentation. Variety here is again the key. There’s a good juxtaposition between slow churning hardcore like “Mildred: Messnger,” and more sped up thrash-influenced offerings like “21 Gun Salute.” The distortion is thick and the speed relentless, but again, there’s just nothing to grip me. No unwavering redeeming value. And that’s what ultimately sinks this effort.
I can without hesitation call the individual members of this band talented, something I don’t like to do considering they way they falter when it comes to writing an entire album that grips the attention all the way through. Had this been an EP, I’d probably be singing its praises, but the feeling of feet dragging along the way keeps this one behind for now.