Seraphic Punishment

As a listener and certainly as a reviewer, there’s always a certain point when you are checking out a potential album where you say to yourself “Nope, I don’t like this” and move on ” or say “Yep, I’m digging this” and keep listening.

On Seraphic Punishment, the debut album (though they have been releasing a ton of demos and singles since 2018) from Fargo’s Maul, it was about a third of the way through the otherwise relatively standard death metal of opener “Of  Human Frailty”. Out of nowhere comes a doomy, spooky Acid Witch-styled keyboard break. And I’m all in for the rest of the album. I’m easy to please like that.

Now, the rest of the album certainly is mostly standard if still very enjoyable death/doom with a nice crusty, musty old-school vibe with notes of Autopsy, Obituary, Incantation, Temple of Void, Hooded Menace, and such. but those atmospheric elements do pop again up here and again, elevating a pretty decent death/doom album to a slightly higher level.

While several of the tracks have atmospheric fade-outs, it’s tracks like the opener, “Monarchy of Mold” and more full-on doom closer “Carrion Totem” which all deliver a little something extra. And I know it’s only 3 of the 9 tracks (there’s a short interlude as well), but the first one got me to take in the whole album, and the other two kept me interested as the halfway points and closed it out perfectly. That’s how you write an album folks.

But the rest of the tracks like the title track, lurching “Deity Demise”, monstrous “Buried in Resin” and “Infatuation” are all damn fine slabs of lumbering death-doom with the needle a little more in the death side. And vocalist Garrett Alvarado has a blast furnace of a voice, keeping everything nice and nasty for a solid debut and addition to Redefining Darkness’ solid roster of death metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 28th, 2022


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