"some music was meant to stay underground..."

The Fucking Wrath - "Valley Of The Serpent's Soul" (CD)

The Fucking Wrath - "Valley Of The Serpent's Soul" CD cover image

"Valley Of The Serpent's Soul" track listing:

1. The Question
2. Rebellious Axe
3. Swan Song of a Mad Man
4. Altar of Lies
5. Blank Slate
6. The Neurodyssey: I. Valley of the Serpent's Soul II. Caverns of Fire III. Endless Black Flags
7. Grandelusion
8. Goddess of Pain

Reviewed by on September 7, 2011

"'Valley of the Serpent’s Soul' is one of those rare albums that can transform swaying hips to swinging elbows."

The Fucking Wrath chose a moniker that compels the band to deliver hard, heavy and loud music. “Valley of the Serpent’s Soul,” the southern California group’s second full-length recording, confirms this group can truly walk the walk. While keeping one thumb green
with stoner rock groove and even bringing the pace to a crawl through diabolic doom, the segue into up-tempo thrash and hardcore segments keeps the album from stagnating like year-old bong water.

Upon getting the album's green light, “The Question” shows the band revving its heavy rock engines. This track offers a medium between the doomed segments and thrashing speed, until the band drops a lead-based load at the end of the track. Guitar leads that both soar and noodle disguise this doomed backdrop that soon becomes the main attraction. Here, vocalist Craig Kasamis morphs from man to monster when he takes on a much gruffer tone.

The slow down that occurs for the last minute of “The Question” exemplifies the group’s masterful use of constructing and deconstructing riffs, a technique that seems conventional, but efficient for creating a stoner/doom/sludge album. “Goddess of Pain” starts off with a bouncy, Clutch-meets-Alabama Thunderpussy sort of swagger. This rhythm comprises much of the song, but guitar harmonies and differing drum beats keep updating this sound. Around the two-minute mark, the group pushes the pace into old school hardcore territory, complete with gang choruses. A guitar lead shreds out a barrage of notes and soon the cycle repeats.

“Swan Song of a Mad Man” traverses many emotions and tempos. From ringing chords with Tony Iommi-esque hammer-ons to nimble rocking segments on down to muffled chugging, Brent Woodward and Kasamis customize riffs for the banging of heads. Speaking of head-banging riffs, check out the nod to “Kill ‘Em All”-era Metallica on “Altar of Lies.”

Bands hate being categorized, but it’s safe to say “Valley of the Serpent’s Soul” is a stoner rock album. It just has that swagger. However, this album and The Fucking Wrath brings so much more to the table that the average metal head should thoroughly enjoy. “Valley of the Serpent’s Soul” is one of those rare albums that can transform swaying hips to swinging elbows.

Highs: The Fucking Wrath maintains a fresh sound, smoothly transitioning stoner, doom, thrash and hardcore punk styles.

Lows: While the gruff vocals are palatable, this aspect of the album could be better.

Bottom line: The Fucking Wrath's versatility and adeptness on "Valley of the Serpent's Soul" should find favor with a large section of metal heads.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)