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Review: Ezra Brooks/Serpent Rider - Visions of Esoteric Splendor
Ezra Brooks
Serpent Rider
Visions of Esoteric Splendor

Label: No Remorse Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 35:55
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: January 31, 2022
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (3 Votes)

Visions of Esoteric Splendor is a split featuring four songs each from Canada’s Ezra Brooks and California’s Serpent Rider. If you divined from the title that these are bands are purveying metal with an epic vibe, you’d be spot on. Ezra Brooks is a one-man band helmed by Smoulder’s Shawn Vincent, whose voice sounds like the high, clear, and not very charismatic one belonging to Chris Black from High Spirits/Professor Black. It’s even buried in the mix like Black tends to do. Musically, the foundation is Maiden-style traditional metal with a lot of echo to give the impression of openness. There are a few unexpected twists, like the early ‘80s-sounding synths in "Am I Paranoid?," but generally Ezra Brooks plays straight forward metal. They even cover Ironsword’s "Legions." Serpent Rider’s contributions are along similar lines musically, with lots of riffing, some speed here and there and plenty of echo. Their singer is a woman whose voice is fine, but her delivery is underpowered for this style of music, and she sounds like she’s back on her heels trying to keep up. Maybe she can really belt it out, but she doesn’t show that here. Serpent Rider contribute a cover of Varathron’s "Flowers of My Youth" and give it the traditional metal treatment to the point you’d never know it was originally by a black metal band.

Both Ezra Brooks and Serpent Rider play decent heavy metal that might have been next level had the vocals been more than serviceable. Both bands are fairly new and maybe one or both will make that leap with their next offering, but right now they are both little fish swimming in a big pond.

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