Seraph in Travail – A Black Death Incense (Self-Released)Thursday, 25th March 2021
Philly’s Seraph in Travail have been putting out some enjoyable symphonic death/black mix for a while at this point and championing a heavy yet approachable sound. As album number three, A Black Death Incense piggybacks off of the band’s previous successes and helps to elevate them to new levels without switching up the formula too much.
One notable difference is that the clean vocals pop a bit more than on the last release (Lest they Feed Upon Your Soul) and you can pick up on this in “When they Crown You Queen” and “Fixed and Dilated.” Fret not too, as the cleans have more of a fitting gothic ring to them as well instead of a more mainstream sounding feel. They continue to flex the orchestration muscles as well, and this release seems the most bombastic at times, but importantly, it doesn’t water down the band’s heavier nature. Longer cuts like “In Hemorrhagic Hues” captures the band at their most epic sounding and glorious on the symphonic end, but the band still comes out blistering when it is needed, a la the opening, and the combination of the synths with the frantic death/black formula stays decidedly strong and injects melodies when it is necessary. Outside of the minor tweaks, this is the same well-built death metal machine that Seraph in Travail have been running for a few releases, and they’ve done a good job of advancing their sound.
A Black Death Incense sees Seraph in Travail continuing to add more nuance and depth to their boisterous symphonic death metal formula. The symphonic aspects can sometimes decrease a band’s energy, but Seraph in Travail have consistently shown that they know how to implement this while keeping the final product decidedly aggressive.