Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Inferion - The Desolate

The Desolate
Independent Release

Miami (Florida, U.S.) based black metal outfit Inferion have surprisingly enough been around in one form or another for the better part of the last fifteen years. But while that may be so, you wouldn’t know it given that within that time, the band have only managed to produce a handful of demos, one full-length release (2003’s ‘Firewar’) and a split E.P. with ex-Inferion guitarist/drummer Armando Martinez’s project Heaven Ablaze (2005’s ‘The Arts Of Blasphemy (Divine Hatred)’).
Having said that, there’s a very good reason for the lack of activity within the band, as group founder/vocalist/guitarist/drum programmer/sampler Nick ‘Thor’ Reyes has spent much of his time deployed in Iraq with his army unit.
But despite this, after spending the better part of the last six years of writing and recording, Inferion (Who aside from Reyes, also comprises of backing vocalist/bassist Frank ‘Ysgar’ Gross) have come back with something new - a second full-length effort in ‘The Desolate’.
Given the fact that ‘The Desolate’ was recorded over many years and in a number of locations, I wasn’t expecting all that much from the album. But to my surprise, ‘The Desolate’ is a fairly strong release from Inferion, even if there isn’t anything too unexpected from what you would otherwise expect from a U.S. band whose black metal influences primarily come from a more European stance.
The opening track ‘Among The Twilight’ gives you a good indication in terms of what you can expect from the bulk of the album, and that’s fast paced and innovative riffing, rasping vocals and an overall level of aggression that only emphasises the melodic aspects of the group’s song writing. There are enough tempo changes and shifts in mood to keep things interesting, which is essential given the band’s rather basic take on the black metal sound. The only real obvious issue here is the programmed drums, which at times sound a little too synthetic, and have a tendency to overshadow the bass and guitars in places.
‘Forgotten Ethereal Visions’ is another solid track with its tight guitar riffs and chord progressions, while ‘It Began With Blood’ and the somewhat experimental duo of ‘The Killing Process’ and ‘Underlife’ sees the band toning down the blistering attack and speed to make way for a greater melancholic and progressive atmosphere within the songs to take on a leading role.
As the name would suggest, ‘Moment Of Anger’ is a track that is seething in venom and rage, but only in parts as the band throws in a couple of slow passages to give the song a little more depth, while ‘Purest Evil’ is every bit as destructive as the former, but with some great melodies thrown in to really hook the listener in.
But while there’s some really strong songs on ‘The Desolate’, there are a couple of weaker efforts as well. The instrumental piece ‘Numerous Lacerations’ is an interesting track for sure, but doesn’t seem to fit with its placing around the middle of the album, while the closer ‘Withering Dieties’ seems to go in a more alternative rock direction, but with a black metal delivery. As you can imagine, it’s a combination that simply doesn’t work.
While the production values on the album are a little all over the place, the programmed drums sucking a bit of life out of the songs and a track listing that boasts a selection of songs that range from very good to downright average, it’s fair to say that while ‘The Desolate’ is far from a masterpiece, it is at least a solid album overall.

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© Justin Donnelly