Written by Carcassbomb
Dungeon Serpent – World Of Sorrows
Melodic Death Metal from Canada
Released July 16th, 2021
Via Nameless Grave Records
Sometimes melodic death metal looks and sounds a lot like black metal but is far more awesome because it is death metal, one such album is the debut World Of Sorrow from Dungeon Serpent. This is also a surprising solo project moment for me just because this sounds so dense, it has that level of multi-competence that made Hellripper so good. Sounds like a whole ass band but it is just Arawn.
The songwriting is perhaps the strongest part of the record for me. It was a satisfying listen that didn’t bore me once and I can just tell it will inspire a bunch of solo metal artists to elevate their game. You can be good at instruments all you like but the actual writing is so fucking key to making an engaging and memorable record. On average, it’s far more common that a multi-instrumentalist will be good at their instruments than good at writing songs. It’s one thing to be able to play guitar, bass, synth, do vocals and program drums but’s impressive to be able to organise them all in this way. When all these things do come together, you have a truly standout solo project.
Fantastic guitarwork all around, making for an addictive listen, like a roller-coaster where you recall the placement of the tracks but don’t quite remember the feeling of the turns so you keep jumping back on to remind the body. That riff on the final track “World Of Sorrows”, you’ll know it when you hear it, so expressive with the lower end notes and followed up well with higher licks from a second guitar.
With a name like Dungeon Serpent, you may be wondering, as my Twitter friend and dungeon synth artist Vaelastrasz was wondering, IS THERE DUNGEON SYNTH?
The answer is, well, there isn’t not any dungeon synth, there’s some very nice bits at the end of “Decay” and “Cosmic Surgery”. I find them moving and highly enjoyable but for those who aren’t into dungeon synth, have a sigh of relief because it’s such a brief inclusion. For the most part you’ll be hearing the whirring of guitars. I don’t listen to a lot of dungeon synth but I honestly could have used more of it on this record because I’m more than willing to spend more time absorbed in it, like an extended cut of the album. Her tweet was actually what prompted me to listen to this album for half the day so cheers for that.
As for the themes behind this album, the lyrics have a nice flourish but on their own are vague enough to fit many settings and periods. When combined with the artwork however, we get a bit more concrete imagery that compliment the words well. This artwork is called “The Course of Empire: Desolation” and it was painted by Thomas Cole in the 1830s as a part of a series containing five parts; The Savage State, The Arcadian or Pastoral State, The Consummation of Empire, Destruction and finally, Desolation. You can read more in depth about the cyclical story here, but in essence, it begins with The Savage State (ie the natural state), the ideal state of the world, which is changed forever by the rise of empires which Cole believed only ever leads to destruction and thus we have this album cover, Desolation, the results decades after the destruction and the harrowing opposite of The Savage State, where no life but the vines choking the abandoned stone may prosper, well, and perhaps the odd dungeon dwelling serpent.
There’s a nice little bit of art history and a very good choice of art for this project. All in all it’s an impressive well thought out work and I hope it gets all the steam it deserves because I’d absolutely love to see Dungeon Serpent create more music. It rides the line between raw and well produced in a way that is hard to achieve. It’s memorable, and it’s well written. Waste no time giving this one a listen!
Other reviews for this album from around the web:
Distorted Sound Mag 8/10
Metal Epidemic 3/5
Angry Metal Guy 2.5/5
Wonderbox Metal review
Flying Fiddlesticks review
Two Guys Metal Review