Opprobrium
Serpent Temptation (Reissue)

Starting out in the late 80’s Francis Howard (Guitars) and his brother, Moyses (Drums), along with bass/vocalist Scot Latour would put together one of the most under-appreciated death/thrash bands, Incubus.  Hailing from Louisiana, Incubus would go on to put out the outstanding 1988 Serpent Temptation, debut album. They bested that 2 years later with Beyond the Unknown with Francis taking over the vocals.  The band would then go on to re-record their debut album in 1996 with newly re-recorded vocals, bass, lyrics, song titles and different cover art.  This was supposedly due to to the brothers becoming religious or something to that effect.  I can’t quite remember, only that I really did not like this re-recorded version, at all.  The band then disbanded and came back years later, but actually had to change their name due to the crappy alternative rock band, with the Incubus name.  Rather than spend time at court, including stupid legal fees, they changed their name to Opprobrium.  Metal Mind did a fantastic gold disc remaster of Beyond the Unknown in 2008.  Serpent Temptation was still a sought after release, in its pure original form.

Relapse Records picked up the rights to Serpent Temptation and have issued an outstanding reissue of the original album along with the 1987 Supernatural Death demo.  Opprobrium/Incubus musical style could best be described as brutal death/thrash with nods to early Death/Dark Angel/Kreator/Slaughter/Sepultura.  You can even say they were one of the pioneers of death metal.  Serpent Temptation sounds illustrious in its original form, with a terrific remaster.  Hell Relapse even dusted off that old 1987 demo, cleaned it up, spit shined it and it sounds great with the remaster.  They are just earlier versions of the songs that would eventually appear on Serpent Temptation.  The band name track is one ferocious song with the blazing guitar beginning riffage, before the tune erupts into a fast death/thrashing part that goes into a swirling groove at the 2.15 mark.  Simply put, really for the time period this came out, as well as Beyond the Unknown, you would be hard pressed to find better/more brutal music.  Even more ridiculous this album has aged quite well, the songs really do not sound dated at all.  A testament to their song writing ability.

Opprobrium/Incubus death/thrashing gets pretty fast, but it never went into blast beat territory.  While I enjoy the second album a tad more, Serpent Temptation was more unbridled aggression with the band really pushing the musical aggression to the max.   “Underground Killers” was and still is a classic, with the beginning part.  Then the isolated guitar part at the 24 second part is the ‘Holy Shit’ moment, before erupting into furious death/thrashing mayhem.  The 1.20 groove is a pure slam pit moment and features some nice guitar melodies, before erupting into more faster paced realms with speedy guitar solos.  The band is still around putting out albums under the Opprobrium name, but I have not heard those records.  Regardless, simply put, this is the version of Serpent Temptation you want and need.  Not only for the crushing remaster, but the nicely thrown together booklet that has lyrics, original album cover and photos, would have liked an updated biography, but whatever.  Relapse Records has once again put out an outstanding reissue that gives respect to one of the best underappreciated death metal albums ever recorded.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
March 11th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Will "BoneS" Lee

    oh man…love this album. I have this album on vinyl…


  2. Commented by: Slavius Jackson

    One of the greatest death/thrash albums of all time. Yeah I said it!!!!! Criminally underrated. The re-recorded issue from 1996 did not do this masterpiece justice. I bought the original LP on Brutal Records in hopes of finding somebody to press it on cd but I saw Relapse remastered it. Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” is probably considered the greatest thrash album of all time but this would be a very close 2nd!!!!


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