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The Goodnight Fight - "Serpentine" (CD/EP)

The Goodnight Fight - "Serpentine" CD/EP cover image

"Serpentine" track listing:

1. Conqueror Worm (5:17)
2. The Kids Is Back (3:46)
3. Frontlines (4:16)
4. Suckin Blood (3:21)
5. Make It Out Alive (4:37)

Reviewed by on January 8, 2009

"The blend of rock and metalcore guitar work is definitely the highlight of the album, with excellent grooves, leads, and solos that make the whole thing worth listening to."

From the opening notes and screams of The Goodnight Fight's 2007 “Serpentine” EP, one might think this Fayetteville, Arkansas band is just another metalcore act in a crowded genre. After an interesting intro, the first song “Conqueror Worm” opens with some choppy but groovy hardcore style guitars – albeit with little more chunk to them than most hardcore riffs – and a guttural hardcore vocal delivery. Under the short guitar notes lies a second guitar melody, however, which comes out more during the cleanly sung chorus lines. These clean vocals contrast well with the main vocal style on this opening track, and are thankfully not prevalent enough to bring the song down from heavier grounds. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the rest of the EP, as the various clean vocal deliveries water down a number of potentially heavier songs. “Conquer Worm” carries on for nearly five and a half minutes, taking on more heavy rock-style guitars and showing more diversity in the soloing and leads by the end of the song.

“The Kid Is Back” continues the chugging heavy guitars with melodic undertones and shows that the band can use the technique quite well. The melodic chorus is a bit too soft and drawn out, totally losing the momentum and heaviness the band built up prior to that. While the clean vocals work, they definitely detract from what would otherwise be an excellent heavy song. “Frontlines” opens with a killer heavy rock riff and a scream of “Oh yeah,” only to once again taper off into more subdued semi-clean vocals that continue on for most of the song, robbing it of most of its heaviness once again.

“Suckin’ Blood” starts out promising with some nice guitar work and guttural hardcore style vocals. The main riff gets a little repetitive, but quickly gives way to some sweet leads that blend into solos. Clean vocals once again threaten to ruin a good song, but in this case they are more directly alternated with the more extreme guttural vocals, which actually works fairly well. The final song, “Make It Out Alive,” follows suit almost precisely with the previous track musically, containing some promising guitars, but being overwhelmed by the clean vocals once again.

At a running time of about 21 minutes, The Goodnight Fight's “Serpentine” EP offers a decent variety in its short play time. With their propensity for clean vocals, however, the band also fails to deliver any crushing heavy or screaming fast songs that metal fans crave. The blend of rock and metalcore guitar work is definitely the highlight of the album, with excellent grooves, leads, and solos that make the whole thing worth listening to.

Highs: The opening track, “Conqueror Worm,” and all of the guitar work on the album

Lows: An excess of clean vocals threaten to completely ruin this band's debut EP.

Bottom line: An interesting blend of heavy rock and metalcore make this EP worth checking out if you don't mind the clean vocals.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)