The Infernal Sea
The Great Mortality

The second effort from the UKs The Infernal Sea got my attention for the exact same reasons as The King is Blind and their impressive debut, Our Father. It’s one of the first releases from the newly reactivated Cacophonous Records ( though this was independently released last year on a limited  cassette run)- one of the very early, seminal UK metal labels, the band hail from my old neck of the woods in East Anglia, and has a member from another band I really like, Man Must Die (drummer James Burke).

But the style is very different from The King is Blind‘s experimental doomy death metal. The Infernal Sea is black metal, old school frosty, blistering, Scandinavian black metal. In fact, this album tided me over until the new Dark Funeral dropped, and actually appeased me a little me above and beyond the wait and hype for a new Dark Funeral.

And while the UK isn’t really known for this style of black metal, the collective that comes together to form this group certainly know their way around the style. Vocalist Dean Lettice has a feral, high pitched scream, the guitars of Jonathan Egmore deliver a slicing, melodic tremolo picked assault, with a few good Celtic Frost inspired Ruins (The Aussie ones)/Darkthrone stomps thrown in (i.e. “Pestmeester”, “Plague Herald”), and Burke’s drum deliver a stern, militant rhythm, but as with the style the bass of Chris Revett is virtually non existent except during the slower parts.

A short intro, “Den Sorte Dod”, bleeds into “Way of the Wolf” and we are off with 40 minutes of blistering Marduk/ Immortal/Dissection/Dark Funeral-ish black metal. There are a few tangents here and there such as the eight minute “The Bearer” where a violin  and a short acoustic break adds a haunting presence to more restrained maelstrom , or “Brethren of the Cross”, another eight minuter,  which imbues a little classic Emperor, some clean vocals in “Pestmeester”. But the nuts and bolts of the album is impressive slicing tremolo shreddage like “Entombed in Darkness” and “Purification by Fire”.

I like what Cacophounous is doing, with reissues ( Bal-Sagoth and Cradle of Filth) and new acts like these guys, The King is Blind, Old Corpse Road and Necronautical, the once great label is well and truly back.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 22nd, 2016

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