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Opprobrium - Serpent Temptation (Reissue) Award winner

Serpent Temptation (Reissue)
by Garrett Davis at 18 July 2016, 3:06 PM

OPPROBRIUM is a death metal band from Louisiana, formed by two brothers under the original name INCUBUS, but it is also a word that means "harsh criticism." But I don’t have any harsh criticism for OPPROBRIUM. This album doesn't seem like something new or innovative at first glance…until you realize it is a reissue of an album released by the band in 1988. The album was definitely decades ahead of its time and is one of the most ferocious pieces I have ever heard come out of the 80s.

"The Battle of Armageddon" definitely takes cues from speed metal roots like METALLICA and holds off on the vocals for a good two minutes, letting the furious guitars and vicious drumbeats do all the heavy lifting."Voices From The Grave" follows suit, letting a minute-long instrumental build tension until the hoarse, gravelly vocals swoop in. "Sadistic Sinner" comes up next, with the unflinching power of a freight train, bowling you over, an immense darkness that would be perfect in a mosh pit. "Incubus (Opprobrium)" is a namesake song for the band, the title changing with the band, and is the epitome of what the genre should be. It's incredibly fast, unforgiving, but the notes are still distinct from each other without ever feeling like it's just a guy wailing on a drum kit without any particular notes in mind.

"Blaspheming Prophets" is an appropriately heavy song, and is definitely my favorite from the album thanks to the awesome guitar solo halfway through. "Hunger for Power" takes its time setting up a killer rhythm and has a more stylistic flow to the lyrics rather than spitting them out at you, they flow with the music. "Serpent Temptation" comes late in the album but it is well worth the wait. Wasting no time to set a breakneck pace, this track grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go, with more amazing guitar work that made my head spin just imagining the speed those fingers had to be moving. "Underground Killers" wraps things up in a gritty little bow, with grinding guitar solos and just enough feedback to set your teeth on edge.

This reissue has updated sound quality and the original album set a heavier tone for death metal that is heard all throughout the genre. Whether they directly influenced it or not, they were ahead of this curve. The reissue also includes four demo tracks from the original 1987 recording, so if you are already a fan or become one along the way, there is a ton of bonus content at the end for you to drool over.

Songwriting: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Memorability: 10/10
Production: 9/10

4 Star Rating

1. The Battle of Armageddon
2. Voices from The Grave
3. Sadistic Sinner
4. Incubus/Opprobrium
5. Blaspheming Prophets
6. Hunger for Power
7. Serpent Temptation
8. Underground Killers
Moyses M. Howard - Drums
Francis M. Howard - Guitars, vocals
Scott Latour - Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Relapse Records


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Edited 04 June 2020

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