[Album Review] Forged In Black 'Descent Of The Serpent'

Forged in Black is a heavy power metal band from Essex, England releasing their second full length album, Descent of the Serpent. There were a lot of great moments on this album that I think a guitarist would especially enjoy. It’s a solid metal release for 2019 for those who are craving a fresh 80’s metal sound in their rotation. Forged in Black has worked with producers who also worked on projects with Motorhead, Judas Priest, and Yngwie Malmsteen and this album features even more.

Reminiscent of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller”, “Seek No Evil” leads the charge for this release, including crazy guitar and drum work and some Halford-esque vocals in the chorus. “One in the Chamber” had a heavy Pantera vibe and a lot of 80’s power guitar squeals and power chords. I liked the exchange of the slow verse sporadically to change it up. I liked the quick alternating guitar melodies with the brash drums like the intro of Ghost’s song “Faith”. The vocals and the guitars also took turns alternating roles in the song. The ending had a surprising breakdown I definitely didn’t expect and the vocal change was a great addition and completed it. The outro was also really cool and well written.

“Shadowcasters” was probably my favorite track on the album because of an amazing beginning, diverse vocal styles, and a highlight of riff-driven 80’s style metal. I really loved the contrast too of having a vocalist sound epic like Dio and scream similar to Halford while there were interchanging guitar solos like the classic Downing/Tipton guitar duo. “Descent of the Serpent” album title track had a lot to live up to but I think fulfilled its’ reputation. I got a sense of a lot of Zakk Wylde/ Judas Priest’s Firepower influence on this track. I really liked the isolated guitar highlights and the long jam the band had in this. The change up they chose for the vocals I think fit perfectly with every part of the song and the song was well written.

Now, you can’t have an 80’s style album without some sort of slower ballad-like song. “One Last Sign” had a large spectrum of different vocal ranges and styles to fit the mood and tone of the song. It was nice to get this element from the band to see a new side of their musicianship and proof that they don’t always have to heavy hitters. “Aphelion Tormentor” featured the coolest intro on the album. The guitar techniques used here and through the course of this record was especially interesting. This song had a lot of different musical elements that they were able to piece together seamlessly, such as a great –switch up- midway through, it was riff-driven in certain parts, and it had awesome guitar licks too.

Descent of the Serpent is now available to pre-order from Fighter Records. Street date is March 5th.


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