Album Review: Mouth Of The Serpent – Manifest [9.5 out of 10]

By Andrew Bansal

Los Angeles-based progressive death metal band Mouth Of The Serpent have just released their second album “Manifest”. It’s a worthy successor to their 2010 debut full-length “Inception”, and I have seldom come across albums that drive their point as precisely as this one does.

The reason for its conciseness is its 18-and-a-half minute duration, and the manner in which the band has utilized this length of time. It’s definitely not an EP, and the band has clearly called it their second album. The album starts off with “Caravan”, a very short ‘calm before the storm’ type intro. Oftentimes I feel when bands use such intros to begin their albums, it drags on for too long, sometimes for even as long as 3 minutes. Certainly not the case here, as Mouth Of The Serpent shows how it’s done. The album then explodes into life as the second track “Cisterna” kicks in. The music can be described as technical brutality at its best, boasting of killer riffs, excellently crafted lead guitar work, and relentless drumming. But it’s the vocal delivery which gives the song impetus and power. The vocals consist of deep growls as well as high-pitched shrieks, and the two variations are combined together really well.

“Entheogen” is my favorite track on the album. It’s definitely the heaviest track on here, and is more of a straight-up death metal tune. The guitar soloing in this one isn’t nearly as prominent as in “Cisterna”, but the other elements of the music compensate for that, and the result is a crushing tune. It’s also the most progressive song on the album, I would say.

“Siphoning (a) The Task” is a short, eerie interlude which leads into “(b). The Unmaker”. This is an intriguing tune, to say the least. It’s more guitar-oriented and experimental, if you can call it that. While it keeps up with the brutal nature of the rest of the album, there is musically a lot more going on here. I was completely taken aback and surprised by what I heard from 0:38 to 0:58. It was very unexpected, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way when you listen to this song for the first time. The tune flows straight into “Psychosomatic Disorder” which brings the album to a close. It ensures that things end on the right note, and in terms of the quality of music, it’s right up there with tracks #2, #3 and #5.

Besides the music, I’m really liking the album’s title, the song titles, and the cover, specially the cover. It creates a very ‘artsy death metal’ type vibe, which represents the band perfectly because that’s the exact term I would use to describe the style of music they’ve put out on “Manifest”.

The only reason why I haven’t given this a perfect 10 score is, I actually wanted the album to go on for longer. That might sound like a weird thing for me to say, because I usually like my death metal in small doses, but I guess it just shows how much this album drew me towards itself, so much so that I was hungry for more.

All in all, I’m extremely glad for the guys in Mouth Of The Serpent, because I foresee this album to be a resounding success. They have shown why the Los Angeles extreme metal scene should be proud of them. So I would suggest everyone to support these awesome dudes by going to their facebook page and buying their album, and if they are coming to your town in the near future, theirs is a show you can’t afford to miss.

Rating: 9.5/10

US Release Date: January 10th 2012
Label: Self-released

Track Listing:
01. Caravan
02. Cisterna
03. Entheogen
04. Siphoning (a). The Task
05. (b). The Unmaker
06. Psychosomatic Disorder