The rapevine chatter is that Bombs of Hades play straight-up Swedish Crust and feature members of The Crown and God Macabre. That’s more-or-less accurate, if by “member_s_” you mean Jonas Stalhammar, and to “play Crust” you add “sometimes.” Granted, I unfortunately haven’t heard their 2010 debut Chambers of Perversion, but the bulk of this sophomore outing is too multi-dimensional to pigeonhole with a single genre tag. “Crawl Away and Bleed Forever ” opens The Serpent’s Redemption with vintage Swedeath tremolo-picking that becomes a vicious Death ‘n’ Roll stomp not unlike The Crown’s. This standout cut is proof that nothing drives home a chorus like Celtic Frost hooks. “Darkness, My Soul,” “Burn,” and “Incubus Descending” are pure Old School Death Metal with a hint of the Motorhead-fueled swagger of Uprising-era Entombed. The title track is a bit of a dud. Just a plodding Waltz with uninspired dirges that go nowhere. Despite a quirky break, “Forgotten in Graves” is full-on Crust, as is raucous D-beat anthem “Skull Collector.” The epic “Scorched Earth” closes the LP by sandwiching its Swedeath assault between an ominous, atmospheric beginning and a spooky, psychedelic ending. This record knows when to be tight and when to be loose, but no matter how untamed the music can be at times, Stalhammar’s razor sharp rasp always reins it in with Blackened, Deathly force. The only thing I don’t like is the production. They understandably went for a raw, organic feel, but it isn’t raw or organic enough. Compared to how prominent the vocals are in the mix, the drums, guitars, and bass sound miles away. Quiet, reserved, and buried in the distance, it’s almost as if they were recorded live in one take with minimal microphone usage. Tunes this morbidly filthy need to rip through the speakers like zombie teeth through brains. Luckily the songwriting is strong and interesting enough to shine through regardless. A few minor flaws to iron out, but overall a very enjoyable album from a band to keep an ear on.
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