Featuring 48 minutes of material, Descent of the Serpent is well-crafted heavy metal with wide scope. Some elements of thrash are mixed in, for example. Also, occasionally the songs veer into classic doom metal territories in their more atmospheric moments, or sometimes adopt a power metal stance of epic force. Whatever they do this is pure heavy metal goodness all the way.
Yes, the band’s core of traditional metal is a strong one, as is their use of melody and passionate vocals. Their sound, although true to the old-school, also contains more modern elements used where appropriate, (such as some backing growls, or certain musical sections influenced by more modern times, etc). In fact, due to these and the inclusion of the above-mentioned styles, Descent of the Serpent is actually quite a varied and diverse listen, within the band’s metallic framework that they have set for themselves.
The songs show a good range and mix old and new to good effect. Bits of bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Tad Morose, Angel Dust, Candlemass, Metal Church, and many others can be heard in Forged in Black’s sound, but none of them in a derivative way.
The band’s singer has a strong voice with a confident delivery. He handles this material with ease, and acts as a suitable and gratifying focal point for the band’s music.
This album is certainly not perfect, and the band still have some development to do, but I seem to enjoy it more than most recent heavy/power metal releases that I can think of, regardless of this. In fact, just play this at full volume and bask in the glory of the band’s obvious love for heavy fucking metal. Yep, Descent of the Serpent is pretty damn good despite its weaker moments.