Hyper Bastard Breed

Quick. Name five current good recognized death metal bands from The Netherlands that excludes Pestilence and Gorefest. Well, Sinister, God Dethroned…er, Occult. Here was one of those little surprises that arrived in my mailbox, along with a huge dose of skepticism, mainly due to the band name and horrid cover. I.N.R.I. stands for Insane Non-Commercial Rock Institute, which isn’t exactly a band name that conjures much of anything other than some kind of mock metal band like Lawnmower Deth. However, after a seven course meal of crow and multiple listens to this little ripper of a record, I’m fully ready to start a petition to change the bands’ name so it no longer hinders them by putting off fans before they even listen to it.

 I.N.R.I. play a raging, rollicking form of death metal that sort of mixes Deranged, classic The Crown, Lock Up, Vader and Dutch death metal lineage. And it’s all played with a kind of newcomer energy and abandon I haven’t heard since Hypokras’ Dead & Hungry (someone else please go get that album, it’s criminally unheard). To give you some idea of I.N.R.I.’s philosophy on music, here is the intro quote from their website: “Kill and destroy all bands who are sliding off the Death, Black and Thrash scene under the motto. Without guilt they are destroying what our metal godfathers slightly build up. Those semi-intellectual philosophical hippy-like motherfucking wimps must be killed, die! Amen.” Amen. indeed.

Where’s Agalloch when you need a rebuttal? Anyway, I.N.R.I. pretty much back up that statement with a 36 minutes of raunchy, merciless old school death metal that successfully merges the new era of U.S.-based technical speed, classic European throwdown dynamics, and decent bit of vengeful melody. Titles like “Shoot, Hammer and Krush”, “Masturbate”, “Terrorfreak” and “Candidate for the Fuck of God” may try to lull you into the semi- humorous “fun” vibe of death ‘n’ roll, but these guys are deadly serious, and attack with the tenacity of a starved pit-bull. No intros, no spooky keyboards, no samples, no acoustics: just 15 2-to-3 minute bursts of frenzied brutality and horn-throwin’ intensity. Starting with “More Ruthless than the Devil”, the opening growl starts the hammering process with due flair, and splashes a hint of classic death metal melody and retro black/thrash for good measure. Then it pretty much never lets up. While similarities can be found to recent U.S. death metal albums (Internecine, Hate Eternal, etc.), there is a very subtle injection of European melody harkening back to Malleus Malficarum, Harmony Corruption and even Crossing the Styx. Not enveloping, atmospheric melody, but brutal harmonics that make each song actually memorable, and not a blur of pure speed as many of their U.S. counterparts are content with.

The monkey-spanking anthem “Masturbate” contains such a powerful, almost early grindcore-punk-inspired, riff and a suitably fist-clenching chorus that I predict that many a pit will swirl with glee at live shows. The title track offers up far more American sounding noise that mixes U.S. blastbeats with Sinister-like twisting guitar work; then on the end of the song, an actual solo, that Patrick Mameli himself might have panned and played. I could literally talk about each song, because even at such a short length, they all rival Deicide’s venomous debut in the intensity to length ratio. However, “The Resonance of Triumph” really struck a nerve the crushing opening riff, and as the album’s second shortest track, it packs enough malice and head-banging goodness to warrant the current Polish explosion to be halted in its tracks for all its lifeless Vader/Morbid Angel Worship. Slowdowns and breakdowns be damned, there is barley any respite throughout the album. “The Glorythrone” does allow I.N.R.I. to display a little more control though, as after a very Pestilence sounding solo, it soon careens into The Crown like fist-raising Deathrace… noise.

Guitarists Patric and Wilfred just simply are devastating, and are equally as adept as weaving a deft melody as they are ripping your face off. Take the stunning riff/solo to “Spawn of Abraham” (possibly the album’s best track), at 2:54: it’s just a knee-bending perfection in the balance of harmony and brutality that The Crown perfected on Hell is Here. Then there’s “Hell is Rising”. My God, what killer song. The classic crustcore riff that surfaces towards the end of the song is raped by the ghosts of classic death metal and the result is a choppy, melodic, but brutal as fuck minute of sonic heaven. Ok, I said I wasn’t going to talk about each song, but it appears I’m headed down that a path so I’ll stop here. Rest assured though, this is one album you will to from beginning to end, as it never appears to have any filler or weakspots – only if you get sick of utter sonic ballistics you might get bored. As the pacing strays little from point A to point B, it’s all fairly breakneck, but at least it’s entertaining and varied. Vocally, Henri, casts a typically hateful spell with demonic growls and spiteful screams.

Production-wise, it sounds very American with high-end guitars and very little bass or drums, but it works fine. At this point late in the year, my Top 10 albums are pretty fleshed out, barring any major surprises. Well I.N.R.I. is a major surprise, and with this being their debut, I think few veteran death metal bands had better get their act together, as a new Hyper Bastard Breed has just entered the fray.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 26th, 2002


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