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The Fucking Wrath: Valley of the Serpent's Soul (Tee Pee)

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Every now and then, a punk-metal crossover band arrives out of nowhere to sucker-punch your ears off and knock the breath right out of you—see The Bronx, Gallows, and Chambers.

Now, entering the tail end of 2011, the quartet brandishing the year's most-devastating, aurally abusive album is California's The Fucking Wrath, with its sophomore release, Valley of the Serpent's Soul. This eight-track release is a pure constrictor, squeezing everything ominous about earlier aggressive-music bands—Black Flag (hardcore), Metallica (thrash metal), Discharge (crust punk)—into a blistering whole.

Wrath punches its collective and relentless fist through every subgenre, from sludge to doom to death, without ever sounding derivative or retro. "Altar of Lies," for instance, starts out all Iron Maiden-trapped-in-Lemmy's-garage, and ends up exploding into total, scalp-happy, thrash frenzy. Most songs ("Swan Song of a Mad Man," "Blank Slate") are introduced in lumbering, Sabbath-like fashion, only to build and blow up into a series of Kill 'Em All-era-Metallica-like speed-metal riffs that confirm the crossover is back, and bigger and louder than ever.

The whiplash caused by car-crash-inducing "Goddess of Pain," in which vocalist/guitarist Craig Kasamis screams his shaggy head off about God knows what, is severe. Bet you anything this band kills live.

If you dig the new breed of punk-metalnauts (Coliseum), Serpent's Soul will save you.

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