Monumental: Songs Of Misery And Hope

Written by: PP on 05/10/2010 03:12:50

If you own a good enough memory, you might recognize the name Darren White from two decades ago when he used to front seminal UK doom metallers Anathema between 1990 and 1995. Since then he has also worked with lesser known bands like The Blood Divine and Dead Men Dream, his most recent project being this one, Serotonal, which was formed in 2004. Five years later - last year to be precise - the group finally released their debut album "Monumental: Songs Of Misery And Hope", a record which is fairly distant from his melancholic doom metal past.

While slow, atmospheric songs attempting to create a saddened, melancholic mood do exist on this album as well, the vast majority of the record consists of masculine, dirt-ridden rock/metal. The focus lies in groovy riffs and 'straight up' metal, probably inspired by the likes of Down and Pantera, though the expression is much more watered down here. A few tracks gear up aggressively, firing heavy riffs on all cylinders, but I'd say the sound overall mirrors closely the rougher alternative rock you used to hear in the modern rock radios on the other side of the pond around the change of the millennium. Most of these don't leave the faintest of impressions on the listener, going in from one ear and straight out of the other, wasting White's vocal talent in an unnecessary display of heaviness and rough grunting. Because lets be honest here, we all know he's a good/decent vocalist depending on your point of view, something which is proven by quieter, melodic tracks like "Unseen" and "Wasteland". It is here that White is allowed to relish his uncanny ability to sound emotive and melancholic on top of the lighter instrumental base.

But even in these rare instances, Serotonal don't stick out enough for me to care much about them. They play average, predictable, rough form of rock with a Pantera-metal base to their sound. There are brief glimpses of a brighter future, but for now, not enough quality here to warrant any praise, although neither an axing.


Download: Unseen, Wasteland
For the fans of: A more alternative rock version of Down
Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.10.2009
Union Black Records

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