Infera Bruo
Infera Bruo

Self released debut recording. Generally that means demo. In the old days everyone needed a label, not so much in the internet age. So when Massachusetts based Infera Bruo contacts me with a request to review their demo I am not expecting a demo, plus the band includes drummer Ardroth of Bothildir. So forget all the negativity you might have associated with an unsigned band’s first offering. Infera Bruo is the real deal. The next question would then be what style should they be lumped into? Black Metal. Atmospheric Post Black, Progressive Blackened Indi-Rock?

The nine minute “The Devil’s Eyes” starts blasting almost from the starting gate then slows down and adds in melodic flair and sung vocals along the lines of Enslaved or Borknagar. There are some moments of interesting motifs and cool riffs but they are overshadowed by whining clean vocals and simple blasting. The drumming is quite fine but often stripped down. Ardroth cuts loose on the last two songs so wait for it. I find this song, “The Devil’s Eyes”, gets bogged down a bit the last three minutes or so.

But wait, don’t count them out yet. Musicianship is excellent. The music flows nicely with blastbeats and pounding bass drum working well with the layers of guitar lines. Guitars are low in the mix allowing drums to dominate but the guitars are clearly heard, and the drums frequently get out of the way, particularly when the clean vocals kick in. Interludes incorporate various noise effects, vocal or otherwise, and slow and simple melancholic phrasing. The dominant pace is fast but not blazingly so, though it is always slow for the clean vocals.

Often with bands incorporating clean singing and acoustic or synth instrumentation I say cease and desist, get back to the metal. I get the whole idea of the soft shit makes one appreciate the blasting all the more, or is it the other way, the blasting makes one appreciate the wimpy shit, in any case these guys do it well enough to keep me from hitting skip and fans of this style should find it quite competent, if not downright compelling. It is obvious these guys have put a lot of heart into this recording on top of quality musicianship. Any references to keyboards equalling sell out are so far back into the 80’s as to be irrelevant, this is not mass-marketable black metal ready for Walmart shelves, so no worries there, these three guys still need day jobs. (Yes that is a complement).

The vocals on “Upon Stone” are more spoken than whined, which is of course an improvement. (I have a distaste for the whined rock style, which Galen finds himself falling into). His semi-harsh vocals are quite good, actually reminding me of Hrimgrimnir of Helheim from time to time. Then he has typical growls, which are not great but more than passable. It may be Ardroth doing the growls. It is the transitions from the three styles and the timing within the composition that is impressive, nicely done. This song is shorter, more tightly focused in its presentation of all the same elements used in the opening nine minutes of the album.

“A Code Of Will” is their attempt at nine minute plus blackened grandeur. Some cool riffs are worked in with nice melodic lines that don’t crowd out the rhythm section. Dropping a solo in that does not feel like an interruption is challenging and here it is done well more than once. Galen’s blackened vocals are mostly understandable on first listen. I’m glad they are a bit buried, especially when we get to the clean vocals, not too overpowering. It is the doomy guitars I want to hear at that point. Mesmerizingly gloomy in a Candlemass way. For a nine minute song there are a lot of vocals yet the music still breathes and expands and his vocals are part of it, not just tacked on top. In the end I say this attempt is a success.

The album closes with the nine minute “A Path Unwritten,” the third nine minute song on here. This song could have started the album, and if it was a demo vying for attention it would get it as the opening salvo. It really gives you a great introduction to the prowess of the band. More rage, less searching, plenty of dropped in interludes, and a strong forward propulsion that gets you through the tempo changes and wandering guitar lines that do not ever lose the beat. Maybe a bit too much with the distortion effects but it works so I won’t complain, and I won’t object to the melodic wankery for the same reason, they make it flow seamlessly and achieve a good balance.

These last two songs, “A Code of Will,” and “A Path Unwritten” show the band’s diversity and potential and make a great 18 minute listening pleasure, add in the first two songs and we are blessed with a strong debut from a newcomer that hopefully will stick around for a while. I’d say if you count Borknagar, Frostmoon Eclipse and Wolves in the Throne Room as favorites along with the likes of Emperor and Ulver then Infero Bruo is a no brainer. Pick it up. Plus Christophe Szpajdel (Emperor, Wolves in the Throne Room, Enthroned and many other black metal luminaries) did the logo honors.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
May 11th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this is great stuff.


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