Vomiting up from the far-east bowels of hell spews the punishing slammage of Japan's INFERNAL REVULSION, a Brutal Death Metal act with a pension for conjuring up some terrifically infectious brutality. Fraught with crushing breaks and a broiling energy level, the band's second full-length, 2009's "Dead but Breathing," is a ravaging affair that rarely loses momentum trudging side-to-side with its barrage of swinging meat-hooks.
I’d like to compare this to their first album, 2007’s “Devastate Under Hallucination,” but unfortunately I cannot. “Dead but Breathing” is my INFERNAL introduction, and these eight slaughtering tracks are all I can go on. Besides, this is just a Metal review, not a fuckin’ history lesson.
The album begins with the Death/Doom opening track, “Prologue (Hymns of Destruction),” and for the most part, it’s a steadily plodding pathway that eases the listener into the maelstrom that subsequently follows. A quick snare and double-kick combo ignites into some technical, abyssal-tuned riffing, and before you know it, INFERNAL’s vocalist, apparently some inhuman walrus/toad hybrid that calls itself Hidenori Sato croaks and roars the album-titled second track into a perfunctory Slam perdition.
“Buried Salvation” opens with a brief pre-recorded Jamaican monologue before exploding into tight Death-Thrashing that is pure head-banging goodness. The incorporation of these Thrashing riffs is a nice distinction between this band and many other Brutal Death bands who either fall too deep into aimless technicality or bouts of mundane hammering. “End is Nigh” is an equally destructive song, and although it features some pretty standard breaking, it’s just that much more effective than its predecessors, which, in turn, may say a great deal about the album’s solid production job. The low vocal register is mapped neatly with the equally low guitars and bass, and the drums, while not as dynamic as you would hope, proffer an even keel of crashes and ground-shaking bass rhythms. There is an excellent bottom sound to “Dead but Breathing,” and as a Death Metal fan, you’re thankful.
The album isn’t flawless, however, as there is nothing utterly innovative about “Dead but Breathing.” The song structures are nice and predictable, perfect for head-banging syncopation, but they do little in the way of being caricatures of past monsters. The solo work is chaotic and short, which may be a good thing (I’m not sure), and the band does get a little carried away when they opt for the Progressive route, fiddling about instead of doing what they do best: slay. Of course, with a bite as mean as INFERNAL REVULSION’s, it’s not how the flesh is ultimately torn, it’s about blood-flow and total delivered trauma.
The heaps of praise directed towards these heathen Japanese slam-freaks are apparently well-earned, for “Dead but Breathing” typifies the serene, arms-crossed satisfaction of met expectations. Playing Brutal Death Metal without any pretension or preconceived notions of what exactly dictates ‘brutal’ music, INFERNAL REVULSION don’t bother with drone breakdowns and airy dissonance; they don’t hop on the pig squeals bandwagon; and they offer much more than mindless blasting and techie-jerking. An unforgivable swell of grooving, pounding Death Metal manufactured straight from the gut is gift-wrapped and guaranteed.
(Online July 9, 2011)