Serocs began back in 2009 as a one-man operation, founded by Mexico-based guitarist Antonio Freyre. After a couple of EP releases, their debut full-length Oneirology finally surfaced a year ago. In the short time since then, Serocs has become a multi-national death metal conglomerate, with Freyre recruiting members of Vile, Monstrosity and Lecherous Nocturne (not to mention a whole shitload of guest appearances).
For all the tech-death credentials of this group, the result is heavy on the “death” and short on “tech.” For one thing, Freyre avoids the genre’s typical showoff moves almost entirely, and rarely even takes solos. There are no ridiculous tapping riffs, no sweep arpeggios, none of that shit.
However, Freyre does know a thing or two about gigantic, nauseatingly weird riffs, and The Next is jam-packed with them. Comparisons to both Gorguts and Cryptopsy are appropriate, although the band occasionally ditches the tech trappings altogether for a more brutal, Dying Fetus-esque approach. This makes for somewhat of a stylistic disconnect, as if the band isn’t even quite sure what they’re trying to do. Luckily, the ever-flowing stream of fucked up riffs provides some consistency throughout. Standout parts are few and far between, although the Cynic-like drum groove on “Urban Terror” and the acoustic intro to “Alienus Gignesthai” both left an impression.
Sadly, The Next‘s greatest flaw might be the production. This record’s sound is heavy on guitars, which is great and all, but it comes at the expense of the other instruments. Vocals are buried deep, and the drums sound thin and clanky, which is unfortunate because Timo Häkkinen (Kataplexia, Vile) is a monster drummer capable of both speed and groove. But bassist Mike Poggione (Monstrosity, Eulogy, Vile) suffers the most from this mix job — the poor guy is barely audible except for the occasional bass fill when the rest of the band drops out.
So back to that “shitload of guest appearances” I mentioned earlier. That list includes members of Demilich, Elderoth, Severed Savior, and Womb Leech, among others. I don’t have nearly enough of a refined palate to tell you who shows up where, but rest assured that all of these people know what they’re doing, and fit into the scheme of things quite nicely.
The Next will probably never make you forget about Obscura (or even Obscura), but it’s a worthy, if slightly confused, addition to the tech-death ranks. Clocking in at a bite-size 31 minutes long, it gets right to the point and then gets the fuck out, which works in its favor. If you woke up today and thought, “I could really go for a a half hour of vomitous, weird death metal riffs,” Serocs has got just the thing for you.
Release Dates: EU: 2013.10.01 | US: 10.01.2013