Served Dead - Servants Arise
6 June 2012

01. The March
02. The Unholy Warcry
03. Shrouded Doubt
04. Oath I've Sworn
05. Undenied Pride
06. Retaliation
07. The Hammer
08. Gospel Of Hate
09. Servants Arise
10. Lament

Served Dead is a relatively new Finnish black metal group, comprised of members who apparently don't share their talents with any other bands. The five-man outfit have grown together over the past few years; thus, their cohesion and focus is obvious from the introduction track.

With the album set to be released all the way back in 2010, the band members were never able to get it off the ground and had to wait for Inverse Records to save the day with proper worldwide distribution. While the world wouldn't exactly be better off without Servants Arise, it's not like this is offensively bad. Especially since they draw considerable comparison to the likes of early Cradle Of Filth.

Getting the album started, "The March" begins with a rather symphonic feel, eerily reminiscent of Vader's "Para Bellum" or pretty much any Carach Angren interlude minus the piano, paving the way for a relentless war-themed onslaught. That "feel" never abides, yet it never overwhelms, which makes for a much smoother listen than what one normally expects listening to this style of music. The guitar melodies are definitely the highlight of the album here - so much so the symphonic elements are more or less there for support rather than for juxtaposition. For those who appreciate extreme metal incorporating symphonies and the like into their music without going over the top, this is definitely a bonus. Others might feel less appreciative if they were hoping for a predominantly symphonic release.

Moving on from all that symphony blabber, the production is also worth noting. While we aren't talking Emperor levels of mastering, the DIY-feel is augmented by a crisp, professional sounding production that makes virtually every instrument stand out, including the programmed drums. Fortunately the drums aren't too high in the mix, as they sound rather soft and hollow at times. It's rather obvious this band would only benefit from the introduction of a human drummer, someone to provide a more organic, soulful approach behind the kit. Or perhaps programmer Rontt would be wise to mix the drums lower and flip a few knobs to give his bass drum more weight.

Sarcasm and Oldblood both handle vocal duties here - one for the KK Warslut shrieks, and the other for the Dani Filth screams. It's definitely not the craziest vocal styles to appear on the same album, but the Filth-styled moments keep it a little more interesting, especially since they appear unexpectedly and don't hang around for any set amount of time.

Overall, this album doesn't really offer anything spectacular. It's pretty straightforward pseudo-symphonic black metal with a focus on melody with a few crazy vocal elements and a fairly professional production. If you're the kind of person who likes digging up underground releases, a fan of symphonic or melodic black metal, or just one of those stage-five clingers who love my reviews so much they fly across the world just to watch me sleep at night, listening to this album won't be the biggest waste of time in your life. That being said, it's not exactly "drop what you're doing and listen" kind of stuff, either.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 9


Written on 03.06.2012 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
More reviews by Troy Killjoy ››


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Boxcar Willy - 04.06.2012 at 05:33  
Fantastic album art.
Troy Killjoy - 04.06.2012 at 06:54  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 04.06.2012 at 05:33
Fantastic album art.

On the girlfriend's laptop I have to tilt the screen all the way back, otherwise it looks like a completely white canvas.
J. N. - 04.06.2012 at 07:08  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 04.06.2012 at 06:54
On the girlfriend's laptop I have to tilt the screen all the way back, otherwise it looks like a completely white canvas.

I've to tilt your girlfriend all the way back, otherwise it looks like she's completely flat-chested.
Boxcar Willy - 04.06.2012 at 14:22  

Milena - 05.06.2012 at 00:17  
"fly across the world just to watch me sleep at night"

Guilty as charged, haven't talked to you in a while so I'm having Troy-withdrawal symptoms.
I like the fact people other than me (and Rozz, who rules as king in this department) are writing 400+ word reviews lately. It's a nice one. And it sounds like a nice album.
Sarcasm83 - 08.06.2012 at 11:22  
Thank you for the Review. Unfortunately, you've apparently got your hands on the early album - as the official album that was released 6.6 through Inverse Records has real drums, played by Tonmi Lillman. (A session drummer, who unfortunately passed away a few months ago. Awesome drummer and went way too early.)

I think the real drums add alot of kick to the whole sound. But the rest is pretty much the same, ofcourse re-edited with the real drums.

Also, might I add that one of the reasons why we didn't get it out until now was that we wanted to go with real drums in the end, as we weren't totally pleased with the computer generated ones.

But still, a fair review. Thanks

- H, Served Dead
Troy Killjoy - 09.06.2012 at 01:20  
Written by Sarcasm83 on 08.06.2012 at 11:22
- H, Served Dead

Hm, our Editor-in-Chief received his digital download link from the label and passed it off to me. I'm assuming this is the album with drums then, and maybe I didn't notice the difference. It's possible the low mix still contributed to the non-human feel. In any case, thanks for the comment!

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