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Grimy Tech Death - 71%

TheStormIRide, September 4th, 2013

Mexican based death metal band Serocs was formed by Antonio Freyre in 2009. Originally playing all instruments, Freyre has moved on to solely focusing on his guitar playing abilities. Thus far, Serocs has released two EP’s and their debut full length, “Oneirology”, before putting another round of tracks to tape in the form of their sophomore full length, “The Next”. For this album, Freyre decided to recruit some prodigious members to his band, regardless of where they were located on the globe. Enter Freyre’s newly established band mates: USA residents Mike Poggione (Lecherous Nocturne, Capharnaum) on bass and Jason Hohenstein (Lecherous Nocturne) on vocals and Finnish native Timo Häkkinen (Sotajumala) on drums.

The band and label both state that Serocs attempts to bring heaviness back to technical death metal. I guess that’s apt, because “The Next” is heavy, technical and death metal to boot. The band has tendencies to both the technical death metal and brutal death metal subgenres, depending on which song you’re listening to. While Serocs is proficient at both styles, there is little-to-no intermingling between the two. Rather than the super clean, digitized and plasticized production of many tech death acts, Serocs opts for a rather raw and dirty sound, which has more in common with the late eighties Tampa scene than the modernized California scene of the last decade.

It’s clear that Freyre is a good guitarist, as he soars through “The Next” throwing rather technical trem riffs all over the place coupled with jazzy solos, abrupt timing changes and chunky, palm muted fills through. The rough edge of the mix keeps the guitar sounding quite ferocious throughout, but, unfortunately some of the riffs, especially the more BDM inspired sections, sound extremely muddy and muffled. My big issue with the guitars is that, although they are performed with precision, there is a tendency to continuously cycle through riffs faster than you can actually comprehend what is happening. As soon as you start to get into one riff, Freyre shelves it and moves on to a new one. Somehow, with the raw and muddy production, the instruments don’t compete against each for airspace. The guitars and vocals stick to the forefront, but you can’t help but spend a lot of your time focusing on the impressive rhythm section: the bass lines are incredibly punchy and ever-changing while the drums stick to fast paced blasting, with pummeling fills and a very rhythmic yet technical flair on the ride cymbal. The rhythm section is where Serocs attempts to merge their love of tech death and brutal death metal into one. The bass lines are more than impressive and would overshadow most performances from tech for the sake of tech type bands. The drums stick to a nearly nonstop blasting style, with muffled double bass runs, loud snare pops and extreme technicality on the handwork, especially when the pace is slowed down a tad. The vocals are, for the most part, a deep throaty growl but there are some curve balls. Being that the band delves into the bone crushing heaviness of brutal death metal, you should expect some guttural gurgles during those pieces, like towards the end of “Alienus Gignesthai”, but there are also some higher pitched screams that come out of nowhere. The members of Serocs are more than proficient when it comes to instrumentation, so that’s not really an issue here.

With everyone firing on all cylinders for the entire album, it’s a rather ferocious ride. With the raw production, “The Next” is heavy and abrasive and, while the constant barrage of tempo changes and trem riffs keeps you on toes, it also keeps the riffs and sections from having any type of real lasting force. Did you hear that trem riff? I don’t know because it already switched and morphed into a new riff before I could fully develop a sense of what it actually was. The music is well performed and heavy but there are no real memorable sections that make me want to come back for more. This is definitely recommended to those into the likes of Decrepit Birth and Necrophagist, but only if you don’t mind a little mud in those waters.

Written for The Metal Observer: