(Lacerated Enemy Records, 2016)
#FOR FANS OF: Brutal Death metal, Dawn of Demise, Cannibal Corpse
Personality, atmosphere, passion, these three traits make albums stand out among the pack and Infecting the Swarm doesn't display much of any of these traits throughout this second full-length album, 'Abyss'. A one-man band from Bavaria, Infecting the Swarm shows the way that the cohesion in a single mind can easily render talent barren when faced with going it alone. In brutal death metal you'd expect to hear something larger than life. Instead this band plods along with little passion, content to reciprocate like a saw carving just for the sake of doing it rather than because there was a hidden meaning to unleash within the wood. From a constant flow of the same quaking guitar rhythms varied only slightly in whether the drums go cymbal or snare first, this bland display of the banality of evil pathetically puts the listener to sleep. Listening to Infecting the Swarm's 'Abyss' in one sitting is a dense and lonely circle of Hell. This torturous tumult of decibels rapes this milquetoast metal outfit's barely existent audience of what little passion would show from someone so blind as to be a fan of such an uncreative band. In only half and hour this band manages to implement a scarcely worthwhile swarm of riffs that rack at the eardrums without making any hint of a positive impression, locking Hannes' zeal for music into a prison of mediocre and inane sound that indemnifies the existence of this purposeless album. While this band gets compared to brutal and technical giants like Wormed and Defeated Sanity, the quality of 'Abyss' is more along the lines of Colombia's Carnal and their utterly unnecessary 'True Blasphemy'.
Infecting the Swarm is your average brutal death metal fare of disgusting gutturals, frenetic riffing, relentless blast beats, and dull, tedious atonality. From a band that doesn't break down at all, it's a wonder just how Hannes can think he will get away with obnoxiously overusing the same sounds and passing them off as different songs. After the album opens with dreary languishing guitar notes of “Entropy”, “Abyss” drops into this constant descending riff and blast call and response that starts at square one, rattles against its interminable cage for a while, and then ends just where it began punctuated only in fleeting moments in “Hypogean Awakening” before drowning itself in more of the same. “Innate Divinity” is a long inane delivery of Cannibal Corpse riffs while the only thing making “The Bleak Abyss” differ from it is some sludgy elongated guitar notes denoting the ends of riffs flowing from this wall of hollow sound. There is so little variation in this very long half hour that it's easier to zone out and let your ears relegate the relentless wall of sound to the background of your mind than beleaguer it with the practice of listening to the barest minimum of variations on the same structure ad nauseum. Granted, there are two songs on this album that actually make this band worth your time. After a twenty-eight minute series of unadventurous riffs slogging around a relentless onslaught of percussive blasts, the listener is given a seven minute experimentation in slamming together some competent brutal death metal as what seems to be an apology for the appallingly inane waste of time that this musician has put his audience through. With the guitars doing exactly what the title denotes in “Spiral Fragmentation”, this song stands far ahead of the others and finally for once gives enough balance between the low end intensity and a high end rise to demonstrate the conflict and juxtaposition of brutal death metal from other contending styles. “Decension” also gives you an imposing atmosphere and a listenable rhythm, finally creating reason for a song to exist on this album rather than throwing the listener into another impassible river of carbon copy riffs drowned in pointless percussion. These two songs show some talent from Infecting the Swarm's creator but they don't excuse the repulsive amount of waste poured into the cookie cutter mold of the previous seven tracks. There is no growth, nowhere to be explored, and this desolate and bleak structure makes this flaccid album a contrived long-winded cry into the isolating void of niche obscurity.
Sadly, 'Abyss' is a terrible display of what living in the echo chamber of your own mind will give you and an awful example of what bedroom metal has to offer. It's even sadder when hearing an album this bad makes something as mediocre as Dawn of Demise's 'The Suffering' sound fresh and full of motion. If you want to get into Infecting the Swarm, check out the first full-length, “Pathogenesis”. 'Abyss' was just not meant to be. Where bands like Brodequin and Wormed have taken the ultra-brutal template and made it a fun, challenging, and fresh experience, Infecting the Swarm fits the stereotype of the atonal death metal hammer mindlessly dropping with little more reason for its noise than to shoe a one-trick pony.