Saturday, 12 May 2012

Inferion - The Desolate


I've been covering a lot of extreme metal recently from different corners of Europe. Bands from the across the spectrum, with different influences, sounds and aesthetics. It's the turn of our cousins from the US now to show us what they're made of. The first band I'm going to cover on this quest is Miami based Black/Death duo Inferion.

The Desolate is their most recent release, self-released by the duo on January of this year.

Tracklist:-

1. Among The Twilight
2. Forgotten Ethereal Visions
3. It Began With Blood
4. The Killing Process
5. Moment of Anger
6. Numerous Lacerations
7. Purest Evil
8. Underlife
9. Withering Deities

The Americans have always had a certain way of spewing forth disgusting slabs of Black/Death metal and Inferion are no exception. Their vocals are raw but the sound of their record is very clean and heavy. If first song Among The Twilight is anything to go by, they seem to get a good balance between harshness, brutality and musical skill. They don't go for all out speed or aggression and behind the percussion and vocals, the music at times hints towards a more atmospheric, ambient path. They take their influences from their European peers at points on this record and don't sound like they want to bite the head of a poor unsuspecting mammal.

The varied lengths of their songs seem to be well judged too, as they are able to present enough ideas and variation to satisfy even the cvltest genre followers. The Black metal side of their sound doesn't outbalance the death metal side so will keep fans of both camps happy. For a self-released effort, this is damn good. They seem to have dodged many of the trappings that plague bands that do it themselves, meaning that they come across as sounding very accomplished and because of the production, the listener doesn't need to put too much effort in to appreciate them.

It Began With Blood helps to crush the myth that duos don't make as much noise as a full band, as the sound here is big, with crushing drums and great guitar harmonies. The atmospheric riff and wall of noise towards the end of the song, really bringing out the Black metal leanings of Inferion. They are able to layer the guitar so it sounds like there is more than one guitarist, that adds to the overall presentation here. The double bass work during quieter moments of The Killing Process works really well and helps to keep the music in check, with more rhythmic blasts taking over from the battery that came before.

Scene purists may find too many modern touches in Inferion's music, but they would be the one's missing out, as for a band to go in this direction, they must have conviction and vision, which Inferion do. By not skimping on the quality of their delivery, they are able to achieve maximum impact.  The clean guitar riffs at the start of Moment of Anger are great to behold. This is also one of the fastest songs on The Desolate, in terms of speed. They keep the battery up for just over four minutes, with only subtle, short tempo changes bringing minimal respite. Halfway through, they do slow the guitars down to give the impression that the pace is changing, but the double bass still thrashes away in the background which gives an indication of how hard drummer Nick Reyes is working.

Numerous Lacerations sounds like it should be a nasty piece of Carcass inspired death metal, but in fact it's a very clever piece of Doom/heavy metal inspired instrumental metal, with the melodic guitar that creates the main atmosphere here. It seems to build up before both guitars fade in and out, with subtle swathes of noise adding more feeling to the song. This heralds in Purest Evil, which is a return to the pace of earlier songs. The texture on show here, brings back images of evil incantation and rituals, which again is imagery associated with Black/Death metal to a certain extent. I hear some rock n roll inspired riffs in the middle of this too, but maybe that's just me getting too into it, you decide!

And so we've reached the final point of the album. Underlife begins with some dirty, dual vocal screams and brilliant traditional twin guitar, perfectly balancing the chaos of the percussion. The great thing about The Desolate and Inferion as a whole is that they don't seem to promote the whole "Worship Satan, Denounce human existence" idea. They are able to sound despairingly heavy without ramming that ideology down people’s throats. The closing bars of Underlife bring it to a close like an unforgiving whirlwind. Withering Deities is the albums closer and embodies what Inferion set out to achieve with The Desolate via clever musicianship and originality. It's a great advert also for many of the forward thinking extreme metal bands in the US, who have as yet been untouched by the commerciality of Black Metal at the moment.

If they stay the preserve of real fans they will prosper into an amazing force and will only grow with the integrity that will bring. The fact that this has been one of my longest and most detailed reviews says a lot about the quality on display here!

To hear what all the fuss is about, you can stream The Desolate in it's entirety via Inferion's Bandcamp page below:-

There is also a link on the page that you can follow to buy physical copies of The Desolate.


Inferion's Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Inferion.

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