Music Review: The Infernal Sea
CD: Call of the Augur
Ok I had to call in back up on this review. Since this is a Black Metal band and I have never been a big fan I wanted to make sure I gave these guys a fair shake. So I decided to have a review by me, a outsider, to give a viewpoint from that perspective and a review from Finn buddy Juuso who is a fan of the genre and more informed about it than I am. And boy am I glad I got Juuso’s input. After reading Juuso’s review I can tell I’m WAY off in my knowledge of Black Metal or just have a way different taste in what I expect or like. So without further ado read on for the double review.
First we’ll start with Juuso’s review:
Brittish band The Infernal Sea fuses together black and death metal to create a fresh and brutal assault on the genre. This is what the band delivers. What my ears hear is that there are elements from both genres, but this isn’t anything fresh. Brutal, that’s what it is.
One of the first things to mention is nice cover art. This would be one of the albums I’d take along with me from the record store, if I was deciding to buy records just by genre and album cover. Next thing to praise is the music itself. The Infernal Sea makes their music in possibly the simpliest way possible; guitar, bass, drums and vocals. No keyboards or synths. This is also the way I love black metal the most.
The songs are fast, brutal and evil. The overall sound on the record is kept simple and rough, which I myself find a good point. It adds a little something to the brutality. Perhaps the best part of the music is the vocals. Two different styles that go very well together and both sound rough. The band has done an excellent job by putting together both black and death metal. You can hear the influence of both genres, but there isn’t too much contrast between the two.
I don’t know too many British bands, especially black metal bands, but I must say The Infernal Sea has really caught my attention. Their simple way of making sounds and songs brutal is something truely enjoyable. I can somehow hear small pieces of influences from a bands like Enslaved and Gorgoroth, maybe even Cradle Of Filth.
This album could have been a little bit longer though. It has seven tracks, with five of them being actual songs. One of the albums highlights has been saved to the very end; the short ritual mantra singing at the end of the last track gives me chills.
Now we have my review:
Again I will preface this review with the same disclaimer I did with the Cultes Des Ghoules review. I have never been a giant fan of the Black Metal genre even though I found elements of the genre intriguing. Such elements as the themes of the songs which touch on ancient gods, devil worship, spells, warlocks and the imagery from the middle ages. All are things that are very appealing to me for song subjects. Also the atmosphere Black Metal bands strive to create I think has merit…if they can successfully create it. However what always turned me off from this form of extreme music was the constant blast beats of drums, the constant shredding of one or two musical notes over and over and the vocals.
Now I know all the above turn offs I mentioned are also the stables of what makes Black Metal, well Black Metal. If a band didn’t include them then they wouldn’t be in the Black Metal scene for very long and the long dead gods they are supposed to represent would rise from the depths and consume them for their fakery.
So here I am presented with another chance to review a Black Metal release by the UK group The Infernal Sea. I’m still wanting to broaden my musical tastes as a reviewer much as possible and am still waiting for that one Black Metal Act to convert me over. So what did we get with the ‘Call of the Augur’ album?
Well surprisingly for me I found several things I liked about this album though I can’t say I am a new convert ready to put on the corpse paint either. So let’s begin!!
What I found I liked about this album first was that even though we have songs full of the things that always kept me from getting into Black Metal, the album and songs are produced in a way that doesn’t make me just want to turn off the album. I found the production here was actually well done, an unusual trend for a Black Metal band, since most in this genre opt to make their sound as under produced and “poor” as possible. I found the songs actually arranged fairly well with breaks in the constant blast beats and one note riffs to hear the talent of Jonathan Egmore on guitars that helped add some depth and leads on some tracks with even a few slow interludes. Also, we get to hear the excellent talents of The Infernal Sea drummer James Burke, when he isn’t trying to hit the drums faster than light speed. I was really impressed when I could hear him display his drumming ability in different parts of several songs.
Also what helped keep me listening was the fact all but the last song was reasonable length with only one hitting over the 5 minute mark. Even the last song that clocks in over 14 minutes, is filled with a lot of ambient sound effects and atmospheric ocean sounds and ships.
Which leads me to this question. Did I like any of the songs on The Infernal Sea’s, “Call of the Augur”? Well actually yes I did. I found I enjoyed ‘Condemned to Psychosis’ …well at least the parts that showcased some nice guitar and drum work. Also, I think the atmospheric elements of ‘The Gathering’ and ‘Ritual Incantation’ were interesting and like certain parts of Cultes Des Ghoules’ latest effort could fit nice into a bleak and sinister horror film about cultists and dark gods of the unknown.
I can’t say I have been converted yet to Black Metal but I can say if someone asked me about a Black Metal and to check out I could easily recommend The Infernal Sea’s debut album “Call of the Augur”. Even a non-believer like me can hear the talent that lies within these musicians even though I can’t understand it.
Side Note: Again I will say what I stated in the Cultes Des Ghoules review. Normally I would give a number review but I don’t think I am educated enough in this genre for that alone to be a fair critique of this band. The fact I’m not a fan of this genre a number review would be purely from my personal taste for Black Metal, since that would be all I would have to draw from, and that wouldn’t be entirely fair to the band or the fans of the genre.