Friday, March 4, 2011

Blaspherian - Infernal Warriors of Death (2011)

If there were some means by which you could round up all the death metal artists across the world, grasp them all in your fist and squeeze them down to their most primal, base instincts, then you'd open your fist upon something Texans Blaspherian, who have wrought some of the purest shit imaginable. And I've heard a lot of shit. My ears are forever soiled by the things I've been exposed to. On the one hand, the low-tuned drudging of Infernal Warriors of Death is nearly as generic as you get in this form of expression. They're not setting out to win the Nobel Peace Prize for their contribution to humanity, but merely preaching from the pulpit of brutality like so many before them, with occult lyrics and titles courtesy of old Immolation or Deicide, and an album title that is all too fitting.

The guitars are as low and muddy as you can possibly get without becoming bass, as if some abandoned sepulcher were flooded and the corpse-infested grime began to manifest as a pure musical expression. Think Obituary circa Slowly We Rot, only denser. The vocals use an admittedly predictable structure not unlike Incantation or Immolation, and the compositions only rarely spit melodies as they alternate between blasted segments, chugging breakdowns (old Deicide), and sparser death/doom elements. Rarely they'll toss an echoed holler on the vocals (the intro to "Desecration Eternal") or add some other tangible, fleeting deviation, but for the most part they stay straight on course, through curving, hellish crimson cumuli of pain and suffering. The dynamics remain steady throughout the 36 minutes or so, but I found that a few of the tracks like the sodden monolith "Infernal Warriors of Death" with its tiny spikes of descending melody, or the gut churner "Invoking Abomination" to set themselves up somewhat better than the rest.

Infernal Warriors of Death is creepy to behold, with similar cover art to Dawn of Possession or Here in After, and an unswerving, haunted atmosphere that permeates the entire experience. But the one enormous trait missing that could make the album far more immersive is its lack of interesting guitar riffs. Granted, something like this needs only lurch along, providing the bare minimum of imagination to maintain its level brutality, but I found so many of the guitars to splay themselves out in all too predictable patterns, that you feel as if you've heard before a thousand times. It wouldn't kill the Texans to hurl a surprise or two at us, whether achieved by twisting dissonance or simply unique notation, and this should not be a problem for Wes Infernal, who has plenty of experience from the classic USDM act Imprecation. I realize that novelty was not exactly the goal of this album, but a few more intriguing compositions would go a long way to bridge the gulf between effective and exceptional death metal.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10]

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