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Album Review: Inferi – Revenant

Inferi are a band who have never disappointed, but had yet to really impress until their 2014 release, The Path Of Apotheosis. I consider that the album where the band finally got their shit together – while the talent of the band was evident on their first two albums, both were held back from brilliance by dodgy production and drumming that couldn’t really keep up with the rest of the band. However, these problems were fixed in 2014, and it left Revenant with a big reputation to live up to. And boy, it did not disappoint.

Let’s just clarify that if you are a person hell-bent on categorising metal into exact, black-and-white subgenres, this album is going to drive you insane. While it most certainly falls under death metal, to specify any further would be to almost discredit the music for its extravagance and wide scope of style (unless you like your subgenre titles to be ten words long, of course). This broad style gives the band a somewhat original sound – personally, I can’t draw any blatantly direct comparisons to any one particular band.

While there are so many musical elements present here, not one ever takes center stage, not one ever vanishes for long, and they all get their chance to shine. For instance, there’s the atmospheric buildup on “A Beckoning Thrall,” the jazz-like basslines of “Through The Depths,” or just the downright evil earblaster “Enraged And Drowning Sullen.” The technicality is absolutely searing, yet also subtle and refined from the entire band, the melodies are complex and interesting, and the whole album has a blackened influence that gives it a slightly more evil feel then your regular death metal record. The mixing plays a big part in forging these elements together so well; nothing is too loud, and everything is audible – it’s the benchmark for any sound engineer.

Inferi certainly like to write epics – nine tracks clock in only a few minutes short of an hour, with all tracks possessing dramatic intros and outros that create a sense of grandeur. This sort of length is often the undoing of extreme metal bands who are oblivious to the concept of ‘cutting the fat,’ but as the last track faded out, I was actually left wanting more.  It certainly does help that they aren’t playing one straight variant of death metal, but to write so expansively and leave a listener still wanting more is a sign that you’ve succeeded in your efforts to engage your audience – a feeling I thoroughly enjoyed during a period of time where my interest in new tech-death continues to reach new lows. The band were lucky enough to have TDBM vocalist Trevor Strnad feature on the closing track “Behold The Bearer Of Light.” This is undoubtedly the climax – the point of which the whole album had been building up for. Trev’s evil, screeching guttural style really amps up Inferis already grandiose style into something truly special for this six-minute crescendo, and then, just like that, the last track fades out in a similar fashion that the opener faded in. This album is expansive, original, and on the whole excellent. Any extreme metal fan ought to be itching to get their paws on a copy of this.

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