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Looking Back at Hatesphere’s 2007 Studio Album "Serpent Smiles and Killer Eyes"

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

When you see a title of an album review like this you might wonder why we are analyzing an album in this manner. For Danish death and thrash metal veterans Hatesphere, their 2007 studio album Serpent Smiles and Killer Eyes deserves a special analysis mainly because of the fact that it would end up being their last studio album with original vocalist Jacob Bredahl sometimes known as “Dr. J.”

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Some Good News For Hatesphere Fans About This Album

First off, it is a breath of fresh air for some of us that the song titles are less extreme than the previous album. We start off with a first song “Lies and Deceit” that is a standard title for a song. There are still a few songs that may be considered as having a sort of morbid title to them such as “Damned Below Judas.” The vocals still maintain their very hardcore and rough edge to them.

Could This Be Hatesphere's Best Album With Lead Vocalist Jacob Bredahl?

However, this doesn’t make Hatesphere unique in that regard because other bands such as Hatebreed and St. Hood would use this vocal style as well. It could be said that the vocals to a small degree may also take their influence from early Corrosion of Conformity (the album Blind is an example). There is also a resemblance to Peter Dolving as well. Initially, without really thinking too much, Serpent Smiles and Killer Eyes may be seen at least by me to be Hatesphere’s best album with Jacob Bredahl doing lead vocals. If that still remains to be the case later on, then this was a glorious way for Jacob to make his exit from this band.

With a genre that has expanded so greatly since 1980 to include the hybrid death and thrash metal model, not everyone will be impressed with this offering from these talented Danes. One reviewer on the website Metal Archives offers their massive disappointment with this release saying that with the angst-ridden lyrics, there is a bunch of boring riffs. It depends what you classify as a set of boring riffs. I’m not even a guitar player yet I see the evolution of this band in songs such as “Drinking With the King of the Dead.” Obviously that is a really long song name that would make it difficult for some listeners to keep up but the song itself starts out being pretty melodic so it is hard to point out this song is boring. The king of the dead could mean that there is reference to Satan and even these themes can turn off some listeners. It can be acknowledged that Hatesphere isn’t a flawless band but their talent is just good enough to beat American bands that have this death and thrash metal hybrid. Songs such as the anger filled song “Forever War” is basically about a prisoner of war that has been sent into solitary confinement and he wonders if he is going to die.


Final Thoughts About This 2007 Album

The opening track of this album lyrically is about something that is pretty much easy to explain. There are people that live their whole lives spreading lies and deceit. They don’t offer to do anything for anybody else and instead they are after their own interests. Serpent Smiles and Killer Eyes is another one of those albums that you shouldn’t judge it by how the cover looks because album covers can be deceiving sometimes. What is also interesting is that at least for me, this album is easier to handle listening to compared to the album Cradle of Insanityby the band Serpent. I guess some albums don’t affect us in a profound way to impact our ability to handle listening to them any time of day or night. In terms of groove metal albums, this one definitely has enough melody present in it to not be classified as your more standard type of groove metal.

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Even if some people say that Pantera started the tradition of groove metal albums, bands like Hatesphere made it better by incorporating melodic passages. They did not use just aggressive vocals. There could have been more guitar solos in this album but for this time period of 2007 leading to Jacob’s departure from Hatesphere, this is still a pretty good groove metal release.

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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