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SERPENTS OF SECRECY Honor The Late Rev. Jim Forrester With ‘Ave Vindicta’ Album Release

Article by: Leanne Ridgeway Baltimore, Maryland doom outfit SERPENTS OF SECRECY – formed by members of Sixty Watt Shaman, King Giant, Foghound, Borracho, and more – presents their long-awaited debut album, ‘Ave Vindicta‘, confirming it for release this October 31st, Halloween, in homage to the late Rev. Jim Forrester. The band has shared the album’s […]



Photo by: Rock N Roll Socialite
Article by: Leanne Ridgeway

Baltimore, Maryland doom outfit SERPENTS OF SECRECY – formed by members of Sixty Watt Shaman, King Giant, Foghound, Borracho, and more – presents their long-awaited debut album, ‘Ave Vindicta‘, confirming it for release this October 31st, Halloween, in homage to the late Rev. Jim Forrester. The band has shared the album’s cover art, preorder info, and the tracks “Warbird’s Song” and “The Cheat” are also available for streaming.

Several years in the making, SERPENTS OF SECRECY has been through overwhelming grief creating the ‘Ave Vindicta’ album. Following a CD single release in 2017, bassist Rev. Jim Forrester (also of Sixty Watt Shaman, Foghound) was murdered on the streets of Baltimore. The band spread the word to help track down the killers while dealing with their own personal loss of their dear friend, while leaving the record to the side as it was just too painful to hear. Finding solace in the fact that Jim would have wanted the album to see completion and release, the band finally forged their way through and locked into the final stages of creating the record. Having completed the record in recent weeks, the band is now extremely proud of the final product and is ready to present ‘Ave Vindicta. The album will see release on Halloween, Forrester’s favorite holiday.

A massive eleven-song recording, SERPENTS OF SECRECY‘s ‘Ave Vindicta delivers more than fifty-two minutes of hard rocking, classic doom metal. With Rev. Jim Forrester‘s bass riding high in the mix, guitarist Todd Ingram (King Giant, Pimmit Hills), drummer Chuck Dukehart III (Foghound, Sixty Watt Shaman), guitarist Steve Fisher (Borracho), and vocalist Mark Lorenzo (Zekiah, Crawler) create an album as inwardly personal as it is thundering to the passing listener. The songs are clearly rooted in and fed by the fertile doom metal their hometown and surrounding area is internationally known for yielding, with an overwhelming bounty of powerful, dynamic, grooves delivered from an intensely soulful core.

Ave Vindicta was engineered by J. Robbins and Matt Redenbo and recorded and mixed by J. Robbins at Magpie Cage Studio (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Government Issue) in Baltimore, Maryland, with the keyboards engineered and recorded for “The Cheat” and “Dealer’s Choice” by Adam Micalczu at Empire Studios in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio in New Windsor, New York. The album is completed with cover art by Joe “Joweone” Nasatka, photography by Shane K. Gardner, and graphics by Bill Kole. ‘Ave Vindicta features guest keyboards on “The Cheat” and “Dealer’s Choice” by Mark Calcott and by J. Robbins on “Bleeding Still.”

SERPENTS OF SECRECY will release ‘Ave Vindicta through their own new Moving The Earth Records on Halloween, Saturday, October 31st on CD and via all digital platforms. Stream the songs “Warbird’s Song” and “The Cheat” below: Find preorders at Bandcamp [HERE].

Cover Art: Joe “Joweone” Nasatka


01. Ave Vindicta
02. Heel Turn
03. The Cheat
04. Time Crushes All
05. Lament
06. Warbird’s Song
07. Orphan’s Dream
08. Dealer’s Choice
09. Bleeding Still
10. Broke The Key
11. In The Lock

It was two years to the day since their brother and bandmate Rev. Jim Forrester was murdered on the streets of Baltimore, and it was the first time they had been in the same room together for almost as long. They had assembled to finish the album they had started with Jim. Everything just clicked.

We’d often talked about getting in the jam room to figure out what we wanted to do for this solo or a vocal part or a melodic figure between verses, but it just never happened. Sometimes it was due to schedule conflicts, but I know personally it was often too painful to listen to the songs,” says guitarist Todd Ingram. He adds, “I hadn’t listened to the album in many, many months. I’d start to and then I just hit the stop button with my eyes welled up. I drove to the studio feeling bad. I felt I’d let my brother down by not spending hours preparing like I would do normally. But that feeling soon disappeared as everything from vocals and guitar parts were getting nailed in just one take.

We’d look at each other and say, ‘Well that’s badass. No need to mess with that at all,‘” offers vocalist Mark Lorenzo. Inspiration continued as Chuck Dukehart decided to add kettle drums to the instrumental track “Lament.” Guitarist Steve Fisher adds, “Ideas were flowing effortlessly. I was listening to playbacks of ‘Lament’ and I thought, “Yeah, this needs a slide guitar track.” “Steve’s slide work was perfect. It really brought out the haunting quality in that piece,” adds Ingram.

Lorenzo continues, “I had this idea for a preacher like call and response with Steve at the end of ‘In the Lock,’ and then after listening to the playback, Chuck comes up with the idea for hand claps, foot stomps, and Gospel-like background vocals. Next thing we know all four of us are doing Rev Jim Gospel hour. It was a blast. Sort of a tongue in cheek homage to our brother. We knew he’d be cracking up at the whole scene.

At the end of that last session we knew we had finished the work in a way that would meet Jim’s approval, and we couldn’t help but think Jim had guided the parts… It was that effortless.” reveals Ingram.

Chuck Dukehart adds, “This weekend we’re going to shoot a video with Shane Gardner who is also an amazing photographer. The video will encompass the last two tracks on the album, ‘Broke The Key’ and ‘In The Lock,’ so look for that to come out around the same time the album drops. We chose Jim’s favorite day of the year October 31st. Ultimately this is Jim’s album and he’d have wanted it that way.


Rev. Jim Forrester – bass
Todd Ingram – guitar
Chuck Dukehart III – drums
Mark Lorenzo – vocals
Steve Fisher – guitar

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2020, Audio Stream, Bandcamp, Bill Kole, Cover Art, Doom, Empire Studios, Heavy Rock, Joweone, Magpie Cage Studio, Maryland, Rock N Roll Socialite, Serpents Of Secrecy, Southern Rock, Stoner Rock, Sun Room Audio


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The Struts master the classic rock arts on third album Strange Days

An instant rock-down classic from The Struts on third album Strange Days (as long as you ignore the title track and Robbie Williams)




In the realm of classic rock, authenticity is everything. There’s a very thin line between homage and pastiche, particularly when it comes to pomp-rock and glam-metal, to which our cultural radars are laser-tuned. The likes of Queen, Def Leppard and AC/DC might be struck through with a rich seam of humour, but when emulating them any hint of tongue approaching cheek sets off The Darkness alarms. 

This genre is appreciative of tribute, but wary of mockery. Derby’s The Struts judged the balance sufficiently well to become a minor US rock sensation with their first two albums, Everybody Wants and Young & Dangerous

Their hints of a modern synthetic tone and contemporary beat are in keeping with the commercial gloss of much of 80s hair-rock, but their 2018 remix of Body Talks featuring Kesha revealed a more cynical crossover eye.

Our advice is to forget the title track exists, start the album on the second track, the glam AC/DC All Dressed Up (With Nowhere To Go), and enjoy a record of instant, solid-gold riff-rock classics. 

Air-punchers abound, steeped in roadhouse gristle, steamy tales of women sexed and lost, and the sort of multi-tracked chant choruses that saw a million tiger skin legging-wearing heroes narrowly escape death by pyro in 1986. Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Phil Collen even show up in person on stomp rocker I Hate How Much I Want You. Authenticity restored.

The Struts have clearly mastered the classic rock arts, be they glam-metal (You Love Me) or roots Americana (the sublime, grainy Burn It Down, all lolloping guitars and bar-room piano). 

Luke Spiller has a massive monster truck voice, and guitarist Adam Slack can make his solos sound like construction workers doing Cirque de Soleil stunts from their cranes. 

Where they transcend homage, though, is in welcoming the influence of their guest stars: The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. helps turn Another Hit Of Showmanship, a smart rewrite of the fame-as-drug metaphor, into a new-wave surf smash, while Tom Morello steals the show with a voodoo-rock turn on Wild Child, dripping seditious sleaze. And that’s how you silence the Darkness alarms.


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Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown’s Pressure is a true coming of age

Backed into a corner in the fourth round, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown come out fighting on Pressure




Recorded in his basement under lockdown, with the band down to a three-piece (Tyler Bryant played bass himself), this album could have been lowkey. 

But no. It began as one song – the upbeat Crazy Days – recorded in response to the pandemic flipping the world upside-down, grew into an EP, and emerged as a fully-fledged fourth album. 

By turns heavy (Pressure and Fuel), bluesy (the barbed-wire slide-filled Hitchhiker) and funky (Wildside), its palette of styles is richer than on previous records.

Okay, Automatic echoes early Aerosmith, Misery follows Nazareth’s take on Woody Guthrie’s Vigilante Man… but even the bluesy Loner and the T Bone Burnett-style acoustic Coastin’ sound fresh. 

Three songs feature Bryant’s wife Rebecca Lovell (of roots-rock duo Larkin Poe) on vocals, and Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr sings on Holdin’ My Breath, but it peaks with the poignant, soul-searching beauty of Like The Old Me. Bryant has truly come of age with this record.


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The spirit of rock’n’roll lives on with Tommy Lee’s Andro, if not its music

Expecting Shout At Devil? Better look away from Tommy Lee’s Andro now




This record will have many Mötley Crüe fans screaming in terror. Because anyone expecting Looks That Kill or Kickstart My Heart is in the wrong hallway. 

Lee has never done the obvious on his solo albums, and Andro is no different, with hardly a trace of the hard rock with which he made his name. 

Instead he mixes rap, Afrobeat, electronica, pop and dance, and in a way that really works. Let’s be honest, were it not for his name there’s no way this album would even be considered for review in Classic Rock

And apart from a respectful cover of Prince’s When You Were Mine there’s little that links this Tommy Lee to the Tommy Lee behind the Crüe kit. But that’s the point.

Working with rappers and like-minded vocalists, he has created music that deserves everyone to put aside prejudice and listen.


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