Seraph in Travail – Bring Forth Death (Self-Released)Sunday, 9th August 2015
It takes a bit of commitment to create a symphonic black/death album that doesn’t just feel like a rehash of what has been done before. With an uptick of bands trying to apply the Fleshgod Apocalypse formula to their material, the ante has been upped (from the days of the Dimmu/Old Mans Child days at least). Thankfully, Philadephia’s Seraph in Travail are one band up for the challenge.
The band’s debut, Bring Forth Death, snuggles nicely between the black and death metal genres. There are moments that shift further in either direction, but it’s an effective mashup. Within the same track, such as “Empires of Servitude,” the band can gracefully fire off blackened riffs with appropriately synthed-up backgrounds (never anything even close to bordering on hokey – a major asset to the band) to significantly more melodic passages that utilize an almost gothic tone and come complete with some soprano clean vocals (also never bordering on hokey or awkward). The leads are effectively melodic without being ‘push-overs,’ meaning they keep the darkened sense of malevolence that the band effectively carries without watering it down – acting only to add some variety to the menu. They aren’t afraid to really pump out some blistering numbers either, such as the practically relentless fury of album highlight “As the Morningstars Burn” (they take a short break for some clean vocals towards the end).
Bring Forth Death brings forth much potential from this young band. Tasteful and dark synths underlying a melodic yet punishing mix of black and death metal doesn’t always sound like the most original stuff around, but Seraph in Travail does exactly that. Let’s see where they take it from here.