A severe rollercoaster of emotional breakdown

-- Serve --

Stijn Daneels

Album genres:
Sludge hardcore
Album artists:
Jesse Lakerveld Vocals
Otto van Schaik Guitars
Mark Smit Guitars
Joris de Jong Drums

Review written by Glenn Schrijvers.

Who are they?

Serve is a band from the Netherlands which combines hardcore with elements such like black, thrash and death metal. I would call it intense hardcore because off the lyrical topics combined with the metal influences. Serve writes about the effects a mental illness can have on a person like depression, guilt and despair. They succeed to bring this in their music and let that to be something very difficult.

Serve released a debut EP called "Live is not lived, it is suffered through" which features 6 vicious tracks with "Dire" as my personal favorite. They shared the stage with bands like Primal Truth, Brothers Till We Die, Deviant and Changing Tides.

The album

"The Light outlives the Sun" is mastered and mixed by VPR AUDIO a music production studio owned by Vinnie Paul Roofthooft known for playing in the band Primal Truth. He worked with bands like Everything Ends, Subvergence, Raise Your Fist and Knives To A Gunfight. The cover art is a dark display of a painting about a person who struggles with his mental state. It really captures the bitter reality of someone who struggles. The emotions I get are sadness, grieve, anger, disgust and fear. The album will be available on CD and Vinyl (Pale grey-green-The dark is always deeper here variant).

The album counts 10 tracks for a runtime of 30 minutes and will be released on 18th April. The lyrics are written by Jesse and Otto and they started writing after the last song of the last EP.

The Tracks

The first track of the album is ‘Bleed Through Me’ and is about dealing with loss, grief and learning to accept the past. The song starts with a dark silent upbuilding riff that suddenly unleashes a violently barrier of vicious vocals, menacing drums with feral riffs. The chorus is catchy as hell with the words ‘you bleed through me’ and will make you headbang like a lunatic. The sound is raw, dark and severe intense! You can really hear the emotions in the vocals and instruments for example the riffs are aggressive and give a melodic tune that represents anger and grief.

Next is ‘Coward’ that tells the story about Otto getting lost in himself because of all the misery and that the world makes him feel like a coward. The lyrics are very personal and intense and to be honest I can relate in some kind of way. The phrase ‘And so I will be known, as a man more scar than skin’ is a sentence that made me face my demons again. The vocals really stand out and strengthens the lyrics. The blast beats and melodic tunes will give you comfort and despair at the same time. My fellow shredders this album is not for the faint hearted let me tell you that.

It will confront you so be warned! With ‘Enabler’ we have a guest appearance from Alma Alizadeh of the melodic death/metalcore band For I Am King. The track is about burning the bridge of your former self because of the prejudices and accepting to see others as autonomous human beings. It is a fast-paced relentless song with devastating riffs and drumming that will cause severe neck pain. The vocals are short said epic! Alma with her screeching skilled vocals and Jesse with his fierce piercing screams is a match made in despair! The breakdown gave me ‘the stank face’ (face off approval). You can watch the funny videoclip yet containing with an important message at the end of this review.

Next up is ‘Extinction’ that is about irredeemable nature as humans and how the guillotine is imminent hanging above our necks. A devastating song that feels like getting hit by a freight train. My favorite part is the earth-shaking breakdown at the end. We are halfway with ‘Habits’ that goes about a love story gone sour with mental and physical abuse and that you can accept the past or vilify your former partner. This is the most personal song for me on the album. Because I had this kind of relationship in the past and it has left me some scars and resentment even to this day. It is a blunt trip of vile riffs and the most emotionally loaded breakdown I have heard up to now.

‘Dysthymia’ is about Otto getting finally the diagnosis of his mental illness but knowing the demon is only half the battle. This track reminds me on the band Caliban also known for the intense emotionally charged lyrics. The main riffs used in here are fascinating and catchy. You can form an image how Otto is feeling with the vocals! ‘Spit Image’ delivers mayhem but controlled chaos within you can hear much melody between the ravaging riffs and drums. The lyrics are about breaking the cycle of your parents passing their trauma unto you and that gives you the choice to become the same or your own person. This is a battle that I fight myself daily.

‘Dark’ tells us do not stray too far in the darkness despite giving comfort it will let you descend from everybody you love. The riffs remind me of the band Converge. The drumming is beyond brutal because the sticks are about to break in any second. The breakdown will make you descend in darkness and the flies at the end will consume you. ‘Swarm’ is heavenly influenced by black metal and sounds menacing with the malevolent breakdowns. You will need your best moshing moves for this banger. The lyrics were written while taking a long walk through the forest and are about we humans being the apex predator but, we yet we are responsible for destroying our lovely Earth. Humans are their own locusts!

The last song is called ‘Oblivion’ and it is about being lost in yourself and being completely detached. Serve goes even beyond full throttle for the last track and delivers beyond limits. The emotions are truly captured with the vocals of Jesse. This song will let you descend in the abyss and let you lose all hope.

The verdict

With their debut album Serve delivers an emotionally packed rollercoaster that makes you question yourself and let you feel the darkest emotions known to mankind. Serve will confront you with your darkest fears and reaches out with their earth splitting breakdowns, melodic and all-consuming riffs, bone splintering blast beats and the emotionally loaded primal vocals.

I have faced multiple demons during my listening sessions and yet Serve made these deep wounds bearable and made room for hope! If you like bands like Caliban, Primal Truth, Volatile Ways and ATLVS then Serve is your answer.

The score