Friday 29 September 2023

Infant Island - Infant Island

Labels: Conditions Records/Dingleberry Records/Left Hand Label/Middle-Man Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 01 Aug 2018


1. Small Differences

2. Replenish

3. Broken Pieces

4. Fall

5. Diminish

6. A Preoccupation

7. Further

8. Where There Is Ruin (Bonus Track)

Post-hardcore has become such a versatile sub-genre over the last few years. So much so in fact, that it almost doesn't exist due to so many blurred musical lines. For one, there's the blistering (grind-inspired) emoviolence sound. Then there's the minimalist emo sound. In between those you have bands that wrap post-hardcore up in dissonant/mathy mayhem and those who mix atmospheric black metal with shoegaze, like Virginia's Infant Island. 

Their self-titled album was released in 2018 and was their first full-length. Initially released on vinyl via Conditions Records, Dingleberry Records and Middle-Man Records, as well as a limited tape run via Zegema Beach Records, it was later picked up for a European tape release via Left Hand Label, featuring the bonus track 'Where There Is Ruin', which was previously unreleased.

Time may be immemorial but in the present it’s going way too fast. It’s the ‘Small Differences’ that make the biggest impact right now, so being able to find a moment to sit and enjoy some music is very much needed. I’ve admired and appreciated Infant Island’s music for a long time now, especially thanks to labels like ZBR and Left Hand Label, whom I was able to purchase a copy of the band’s self-tilted album from on tape. 

The aforementioned opening song is the best of both post-hardcore and post-metal, especially thanks to Infant Island’s atmospheric blackened tones. Atmosphere doesn’t really come in to it though on ‘Replenish’, which kicks straight off with loud harsh vocals and equally to-the-point instrumentation. The song’s latter half takes a different turn with introspective vocal melodies and gentler musicianship.

That gentler approach flows into ‘Broken Pieces’ and with it, a subtle nod towards We Came Out Like Tigers and their collective delivery. It’s a majestic song that marries all encompassing guitars and percussion with vocals that sit deeper in the mix at first, before taking centre stage midway through. The dynamics work so well and portray true emotive fragility.

The feeling you get from cathartic, cleansing music is indescribable as it’s very personal but I reckon you could come close to describing it after listening to ‘Fall’. Absolute shout from the rooftops, heart on your sleeve stuff. The brief yet no less intense sound of ‘Diminish’ shows how much black metal influence goes into Infant Island’s music, in perfectly succinct fashion.

The two grandest songs are left till the end, starting with ‘A Preoccupation’ and it’s beautiful instrumental build-up that lasts to nearly it’s half way point. It has a feeling of spaciness even when the harsh vocals are unleashed. ‘Further’ is the longest of the album’s tracks and was the final one on it’s initial release. Almost seven minutes of deliciously layered screamo. 

Within those layers there are a multitude of other instruments too (that may not be immediately noticeable), including violin, cello, celestette, grand piano, bowed glockenspiel and upright piano, as well as added field recordings. All were intricately performed/recorded by Drake Dragone, Grace Howie, Alexander Rudenshiold (also the band’s guitarist/vocalist), Austin O’Rourke and Mark Boulanger. Vocalist Daniel Kost, bassist Kyle Guerra and drummer James Rakestraw make up Infant Island alongside Alexander on this release.

Bonus track ‘Where There Is Ruin’ appeared on the tape reissue by Left Hand Label in early 2019, having been previously unreleased. At the time, Infant Island described it as a precursor to what was to come and there’s a discernible difference in sound for sure. Some of the rawness of the band’s sound has vanished in favour of cleaner melodies and when it does get heavier, it really draws you in.

Infant Island may be on the back burner but their body of music continues to inspire. You may struggle but if you can find a copy of this album in the wild on a physical format, snap it up. It’s still available digitally too though, so why not do both!

You can stream and purchase both the original release as well as Left Hand Label's expanded release digitally below:-

Infant Island -

Physical copies are very scarce now but you can find a remaining copy below:-

Dingleberry Records Discogs -

Conditions Records -

Dingleberry Records -

Middle-Man Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

Left Hand Label -

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