(The Artisan Era, 2014)
#FOR FANS OF: Melodic Death Metal, The Black Dahlia Murder, Insomnium, Arsis
It’s not every day a musical act comes from a completely unexpected climate to wow you with a style made famous by practitioners elsewhere around the globe, but the home of American Country/Western music, Nashville, Tennessee has delivered one of the more rousing, enjoyable, and downright fun albums in the year is this third effort from the recently reactivated US version of Inferi. As soon as you press ‘PLAY,’ the one undeniable influence upon this music is The Black Dahlia Murder in terms of overall attack, riffing patterns and initial scope, but the main part missing here is the bands’ greatest strength in that it’s more traditionally-based Death Metal instead of opting for the Metalcore-infusion BDM specialize in. Instead, these guys infuse their sound with more keyboards, in the process becoming slightly symphonic in places when they launch into keyboard-spotlighted efforts, while focusing on including highly melodic riffs passages over the brutal Death Metal rhythms, which is a key component to the Finnish style of Melo/Death. Still, the dual vocals of hoarse grunts and raspy screams alternating within different lines, technically-complex and high-speed guitar patterns and pounding drum-lines filled to the brim with triggered double-bass fills all seem to come from the Michigan-deathsters playbook, but the additional influences within make this far more impressive and enjoyable. Opener "Those Who From the Heavens Came" gives an impeccable example of what to expect here with a swirling round of keyboards, technical guitar riffs, lumbering bass-lines and utterly impressive round of drumming that barrels over the top of the raging tempos within, as it shifts from quiet, moody reflective pieces with acoustic instrumentation to full-throttle barn-burner and complex, Metalcore-inspired mid-tempo work all within the scope of the epic six-minute length, itself a common trait among many of the songs to push past the six minute running time or come awfully close. That, in a nutshell, might be the albums’ only detriment as the extended running time throughout these songs border on overkill the longer the album runs for the decision to leave the running order at eleven is a bit much for this kind of music, much less the standard issue version like this. Keep it at nine or so and put one of the short tracks as a bonus clip isn’t going to do much to harm this one overall, but eleven songs averaging five-and-a-half minutes takes a lot out of this record. Frankly, the album as a whole is just so enjoyable that it’s only reflection after-the-fact that this becomes noticeable and not during the experience, the music is just that good to really notice. Additionally, the majority of the songs offer something fun to enjoy on an individual basis. "The Promethean Kings" is absolutely dripping with stellar guitar solos displaying incredible musical chops, "A Betrayal Unforetold" is an unrelenting rager of a track with plenty of guitar fireworks to power through and "Wrath of the Fallen One" is a keyboard-laden masterpiece of Symphonic Death Metal bristling with blinding drum-work alongside furious high-speed guitar riffing into an eerie, melodic outro. "The Ophidian Form," "Prelude to a Perilous Fate" and "Destroyer" are all reminiscent of the other, earlier tracks here with minor difference in tempo and rhythm melody, and the final onslaught of epic-length tracks at the back-end manages to hold the fury throughout the majestic lengths and make for a series of fine, up-tempo tracks that really hold the melody and symphonics well deep into an album, giving this band high hopes for the future as one of the pioneers of the genre.