Serenity Dies // Hacksawcracy
Rating: 2.5/5.0Not enough horsepower to make the long trip
Label: Unsigned
Websites: myspace.com/serenitydies
Release Date: July 15th, 2010

A metal band from the Maldives Islands? That may be a first. Serenity Dies is a four piece metal act with one album already under their belts (2006’s Murder), and now they bring us Hacksawcracy, a six track EP. Not bad for a band tucked away in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Although Serenity Dies bill themselves as a thrash band, nearly half the material on Hacksawcracy really doesn’t qualify as thrash in my book. The sound on the first three songs is more in the Load/Reload style of Nu-Metallica (never a good sign), with slow, chunky riffs that never burst into full-fledged thrash or grab the listener by the balls. That said, the guitar work is pretty decent throughout and you can nod your head a long with it well enough. The vocals are mainly hoarse, low register singing rather than screaming and sound like a mix of Testament’s Chuck Billy and a slightly more pissed off James Hetfield. While that might sound good on paper, the vocal work actually left me kind of flat as does the overall energy level of these first few tracks. In all fairness however, despite being mid-paced, “Blood Serenade” contains a decent chorus and some interesting guitar work.

When the band decide to punch it up a notch like on the title track, “Psycho Ride” and “Dystopian Law,” things get more interesting and they move toward the thrash sound they advertise, but it’s a pretty tame variety of thrash. With the speed turned up, Serenity Dies sound like a mellower Sacred Reich or maybe even Wrathchild America (anyone remember them besides me?).

Regardless of the speed being employed across Hacksawcracy, there is a nagging feeling of “so what?” and a real dragging sensation to almost every song. Most tracks seem to go on too long and lack the impact necessary to maintain anything beyond passing interest. There is just something missing in terms of songwriting dexterity and punch (only “Dystopian Law” remains interesting from start to finish). While there are moments in each song where my ears prick up and I like what I’m hearing, it can’t overcome the dragging feeling that eventually sets in.

The production provided by Children of Bodom knob turner Anssi Kippo is top notch, very powerful and crisp but sadly, the material here doesn’t live up to the presentation afforded it. Additionally, guest guitarists Rob Caggiano (Anthrax) and Mikko Salovaara (Kiuas) do little to amplify the energy and impact that seems to be missing here.

While I’m the first to acknowledge how great it is to get metal music from parts of the world not commonly thought of as metallic breeding grounds, there isn’t a lot here to get excited or fired up about. There are scattered flashes of something good but a lot of average and boring material weighing it down. I hope this isn’t the last we hear from Serenity Dies and maybe with time and some seasoning, they can deliver a real kick to the metal world’s ass but this is more a polite pat on the back.

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