Impending Doom's latest album brings insight to Christian metal genreFriday, June 05, 2009 By Spencer Starnes, Class of 2010
Breathing life back into the Christian metal genre, Impending Doom certainly gives off its namesake on its new album The Serpent Servant , which scored No. 3 on the Heatseekers chart and sold 4,300 copies its first week. From the first track called "When Waters Run Deep," Impending Doom sets the mood with an erratic tri-tone breakdown so common in the deathcore genre. Some have argued that the breakdown is the genre's greatest weapon as well as its greatest weakness, but Manny Contreras and Cory Johnson (ex-Sleeping Giant) know the definition of moderation and employ breakdowns tastefully throughout the album. "Waters Run Deep" leads into the title track of the album. Brooke Reeves's brutal, jagged but still discernible voice and lyrics enhance the auditory destruction brought on by Chad Blackwell's formidable drumming skill. Reeves's lyrics give a keen insight into the life and thought of a strong Christian as well as a glimpse of the life of the non-believer. Lyrics like "dress me in your cloak, induct me into your cult, use an open tomb as my throat" from "The Serpent Servant" show his beliefs on how hypocrisy and greed only spreads death and deceit throughout our world, whereas lyrics like "When every thing's gone, anything goes. Theories without real foundation, blind folds entire nations, idols as big as your bank account is. No compromise. Your gods resemble humanity, the irony is they are inferior and nonfunctional in their making" and "the vastness of space, the delicacy of your face, the artistry of nature, all without a painter. From sunrise to sunset are we part of this big accident?" from "Anything Goes" display his views on materialism and the big bang theory. Perhaps the most powerful song on this album would have to be "Welcome To Forever". This song is the epitome of everything the Christian stands for. It talks about how everything we strive for in life isn't worth anything in the end and how we shouldn't "look at the clouds and ignore the one coming through them," talking about Christ's supposed method of return. "We're grasping for the wind, where both the wise and the fools both achieve emptiness in the end." After "Welcome To Forever," the listener is flung with a vengeance back into the fury thanks to the song "More Than Conquerors." The name for the track "More Than Conquerors" was taken from the Bible verse Romans 8:37, which states, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us". All in all, "More Than Conquerors" is a call to Christians telling them to stand up for their beliefs and to be a light in the dark in a world that idolizes evil. "Revival: America" sounds like a code name for a top secret operation. However, Impending Doom obviously doesn't believe it's top secret, nor do they want it kept under wraps. Throughout this song, Reeves chants "revival" over and over and at one point "revival America," driving home the apparent need for a revival of America. Along with the chant, the song begins slow with a eerily Whitechapel-esque riff then leads into a pummeling breakdown that would best be portrayed as a battering ram slamming into the gates of your mind. After all the musical mayhem and chaos created by this album, the listener will find some sense of safety in the song "City of Refuge." This alternative-sounding song embraces a more down-tempo sound with a lot of epic chords progressions, lots of octaves (which tend to be more full sounding) and 6th chords which sound more open and richer. I believe that the line in the lyrics about songs being sung in the night in the city of refuge is metaphorically speaking about how Christ is like a city of refuge, and that songs of praise can be sung even in the darkness of this world. The final song "Beginnings" throws away with disgust what "City of Refuge" so embraced. "Beginnings" sounds like the end, reducing the results of "City of Refuge" to rubble then kicking it away. I think that this track was aptly put at the end of the album because the ending is just the beginning. Even the lyrics state that. "This speck of light is my creeping death, I can't wait 'til I'm dead only to live again." Seeing as how Impending Doom broke away from their old sound on their first full-length Nailed. Dead. Risen. This is the beginning for them. New sound, new members, new fan base. Now for the cons. To me, at times, it seemed as if Impending Doom lacked musical creativity. It seems as if this group of musicians tried to copy Whitechapel (perhaps one of the most talented deathcore bands ever) and came up lacking. Had they stuck to the style that made them the fathers of Christian deathmetal, they probably would have created an even more creative piece of work. Sure, Reeves's vocals matured from the low indistinguishable growl he used to do and the quality of recording and production was even better thanks to current audio recording technology, but at times the album just seemed thin. However, I believe that this album was certainly a good one that should be noticed. Very few people manage to pull off Christianity and deathmetal together, but I.D. managed to do just that. I would give this album an 8 out of 10. The erratic staccato guitarwork which requires an amazing set of chops (skills) was executed with precision and at times added an interesting vibe. But I took two points away because the album sounded like a watered-down Whitechapel. Impending Doom employed Colin Marks to do their artwork who was also the same man who did Whitechapels Artwork on This Is Exile. Had the sound just been similar it would have been been fine...but come on? The artwork too?