Inisans - Transition - (8/10)
Published on March 26, 2018
Erupting from the darkest depths of the Swedish extreme metal underground, Inisans pours, sloshes, grinds, and gnashes its way through the stagnant wave of HM2 worshippers associated with one of metal’s global hotspots. Reaching past the punk inspired arching leads and d-beats of pretenders to the thrones of Carnage, Dismember, Unleashed, and Nihilist, Inisans reach into a lesser known sound their homeland was known from. Some would call it thrashy, others blackened, but none can deny the near absurd savagery and aura of decrepit unaltered evil of bands like Merciless, Grotesque, Curse, Bloodstone, Treblinka/Tiamat, Obscurity, and other bands that were never completely buried by time and commercial attention diverted elsewhere. While many of these had flaws and shortcomings of their own, many of their ideas would live on in bands from the turn of the millennium such as Whore (Swe), Temisto, Prosanctus Inferi, Ensnared, Malicious (Finland), and Nocturnal Kudeta often improved and polished for incredible fusions of mythic levels of bloodshed with the cerebral cunning of today’s finest.
Inisans is a good example of just how vile things were before the Sunlight Studios sound rose to prominence. While blackened death is now far more recognized than it was in the 90’s, it’s not often it sounds this unhinged and unclean outside of war metal and grind hybrids while still retaining a sense of recognizable structure and twisted riff topography. The riffs at play here harken back less to a particular band as much as an interesting era in the development of death and black metal when the over elements of both hardcore punk and thrash metal had been mostly excised or pushed to the background yet many conventions of riffcrafting and songwriting weren’t yet standardized or refined. Consequently many of the riffs are colossal layers of grating chromatic torture and monstrous, broad stroke pounding chords working like tidal waves of at times near atonal abomination, crashing incessantly against simple workmanline drumming. While the tempos here are fairly varied, the delivery of these riffs is with such a level of ferocity that even at midpaced segments their dense and broadly shaped nature they never really lose any of their intensity once the blast beats momentarily stop. It’s overwhelming to a level comparable to brutal death while using not even a fraction of the technicality involved but there’s enough breaks in motion combined with shifts in riffing to stop it from becoming pure noise.
Structurally, this album is relatively simple, becoming more faithful to its source material in that sense. Rather than esoteric structure or connecting multiple themes, it uses a mixture of repetition marked by sections of abrupt change to keep a constant flood of hellish intensity with specific changes that alter but never really defang its bestial onslaught. It’s somewhat akin to early Morbid Angel or even a much rawer Angelcorpse in the sense in that songs generally have a circular arrangement of riffs broken up by sudden peaks of intensity. The most important part however is a diversion from this chain, introducing a quick new set of riffs that branch off and resolve the chaos of their origins before they’re swallowed back into the whirlpool of gnashing maws from which they escaped. Usually that point is where the band works in melody simple in its execution but eerie in its sometimes slightly off key in its intentionally moribund delivery. There’s a kind of supernatural mood evoked in this contrast between grating rows of hazy power chords over which reverb soaked vocals roar pierced by the sudden appearance of some otherworldly order manifesting as consonant phrasing, one that I’d say is quite different from the more ritualistic or “occult” death/black metal bands of today in that it isn’t so much focused on a repetitious and ambient mood as much as a malevolent sense of hungry supernatural power normally antithetical to human existence.
This album’s shortcomings mostly are relegated to its songwriting. It’s immediately satisfying on a level akin to classic Repulsion or pre-technical Sadus. However at times songs don’t feel quite fleshed out and just how damn cool those harmonies sound doesn’t really feel like something that’s emphasized quite enough, mostly relegated for a few particular moments. It’s proof that melody doesn’t decrease heaviness but I would’ve liked to hear more of that. Other times it would’ve been nice to see them branch out into more varied tempo for the parts where they do break away from the main set of riffs from a song, perhaps exploring them in longer configurations with varying intensity levels. Still this a great start for this band that manages to find its own specific niche in the underground, neighbouring bands like Vorum, Prosanctus Inferi, Funeral Chant, and Orator with its late 80’s demo level rawness reminiscent of Necrovore, Bloodspill, Exmortis, and Incubus. Yet in spite of how OLD SKULL it is, there’s not really that much out there today that’s genuinely reminiscent of it given the obscurity of its inspirations. For a fresh slab of rotting, possessed madness this might just be the album to go for this year if you want to push the limits of pure death metal depravity.