Album: Embrace Your Demise
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, knowing that eventually, you will cease to inhabit this earth as a living, walking, talking and functioning human being. Maybe you’ll outlive those whom you love—and as such, embrace death as a gift, or a passport to a reunion with the people you call family. As warm a thought as that is, maybe the corollary is true. Perhaps death with be the barrel of a gun, whose sights you happen to find yourself fixed between far before “your time.” This is death coming at an untimely and unwanted end—a crude, crushing climax to your still-flourishing life. This is Seraph’s fourth studio album, Embrace Your Demise. Coming from what seems like no where, Seraph attack the listener with a dynamic combination of shreddy, intense technicality and brute-force heaviness that will snap the listener’s kneecaps and leave them crippled, stuck with their only option—an untimely demise they have no choice but to embrace.
All of the sudden, your vision goes black—seconds later, all you see are stars and everything is out of focus. You’re on the floor, knees scraped, palms red and dignity sufficiently bruised—you were completely ambushed by Seraph. Embrace Your Demise kicks off with an absolute sucker punch that floors the listener only to keep on kicking them while they’re down. After a subtle introduction that lulls the listener into a deceptive sense of complacency, “Bastards of a Digital Age” attacks the listener with one facet of Seraph’s Janus-like dynamic: relentless heaviness. Deep, dissonant chugs and beefy, pounding percussion take turns swinging at the listener like twin sledge hammers, cracking ribs and flattening flesh. “From Mortal to God” takes the same approach—favoring unstoppable heaviness and grinding, grooving riffs over lacerating technicality. These torturously heavy tenements of Seraph’s album completely flatten the listener, grabbing them by the scalp and smashing their face into the pavement over and over again in time with each track’s deep, rhythmic chugging and soul-splitting, severe brutality. However, this is only one of Seraph’s many talents—as the band have much more to them than a mastery of mutilatingly heavy deathcore.
Your assailant drops the sledge—you practically sigh an audible cacophony of relief—only to unsheathe his knife. It Is when Seraph opt for technical, intriguing and awe-inspiring songwriting over gut-bustingly heavy breakdowns and soul-searing slams that the listener is truly doomed. True—Seraph get heavy, and they do it well—but where they truly shine is their ability to write sinister, catchy riffs that ebb and flow into furiously-fretted guitar solos and gyrating, labyrinthine grooves. Embrace Your Demise’s title track is one such example—as is “Purification” and the epic track “Kingdom of the Mind.” These songs use lightning-fast percussion and intense, booming bass to serve as a scaffold for winding, masterful guitars to trace and build upon, crafting entire cathedrals and obelisks to the perfection of technical deathcore. These cathedrals aren’t long for this world, however—as almost immediately as the listener is welcomed inside—immersed—the walls are broken down and the supports are kicked out, causing the entire structure of the song to crumble down, burying the listener alive.
After being beaten into submission by the most brutal moments of “Bastards of a Digital Age” and sliced into shreds by the technical mastery of “Embrace Your Demise,” the listener is left, doomed—whether to bleed out on the pavement or to be put to a succinct and stunning end by a bullet to the head is entirely up to Seraph. Embrace Your Demise is an album that is so comprehensively heavy yet marvelously technical and mesmerizing that it traps the listener inside from the first seconds of “Bastards of a Digital Age” and gives them a death sentence that they are all too willing to accept. No matter if its deep, incessant chugging or sky-high shred, Seraph’s vocals are always dead on—a bitter, low growl or shrieking, uncanny scream—and the entire band functions with more syncope than Lance Armstrong’s heartbeat. Embrace Your Demise is the sound of a band that has spent the past seven years crafting an unbreakable dynamic that is as solid as steel but as fluid and smooth as microwave-melted butter.
The chamber’s loaded, the hammer’s cocked—the only thing left is to pull the trigger. And that is exactly what Seraph do. Embrace Your Demise is the gunshot that sends a bullet clear through the listener’s skull, decimating their cranium, and their perceptions and expectations of technical deathcore along with it.
For Fans Of: As Blood Runs Black, Within the Ruins, Shag Harbor, Martyr Defiled
By: Connor Welsh