Didgeridoo? Interesting start… Three years ago "Strong Impressions" had been the very first underground album to be reviewed on "The Metal Observer". Now the quartet from Bavarian Freilassing (plus one Austrian) is back with "Hatecrusher" and style wise they have stayed true to themselves.
They still mix Death Metal, Thrash Metal and some Power Metal into a quite interesting concoction that draws part of its strength through the use of two vocalists, one higher, one lower Death Metal vocals, admittedly, not the most revolutionary element anymore, but still an effective one, if you ask me. The trick here is variation. Often bands of this style rely on one style only (at least per song), either fast or doomy or if they vary, often things get rather complex and progressive. SERAPH go the middle way, expertly shifting speeds in a very smooth way, with heavy guitars, but always very good melodies in them and the keyboards on "Hatecrusher" are well used and do not drown out the rest of the instrumentarium.
Overall you can hear quite some evolution and maturing, if you compare the compositions of their debut "Strong Impressions" and "Hatecrusher", the arrangements are more flowing, the little bumps have been smoothed and the songs overall carry more depth in them (yes, I admit, back then at the beginning of my reviewing career I might have been a little too enthusiastic with the rating, but what should I do? ;). Anyway, the title track sets off in accordance to the title, after the didgeridoo, of course, with some serious riffage, while "Under Control" brings in some atmospheric keyboards into a powerful track that loses nothing of its intensity.
I also should point out "Silent Tears", which is more slow paced and features some good atmospheric keyboards again, the dynamic and really heavy "Everlasting Hate" (one of the best cuts off "Hatecrusher") and the almost equally strong "Work Under Pressure", where the dual vocal attack is used to its most effective.
As the packaging is professional as well and the production only has a few minor flaws (at times in the drum sound), there is not really much that I could say to discourage you from trying out SERAPH's second effort, not all is gold, but for a young band a good release. And if you see that this one has 1 points less of a rating than "Strong Impressions", well, it is better, but I overshot with my rating back then, please accept my apologies! (Online July 21, 2003)