Inferi have been around the sun a few times. Formed in 2006, the band has three studio albums behind them, as well as the admiration of every guitar nerd and extreme metal fan on the planet. The Nashville based five-piece were somewhat of a well-kept secret worldwide since their inception, until their behemoth 2014 release, The Path Of Apotheosis, which earned them a name as one of the most innovative and exciting death metal bands the genre has ever seen.
Many considered the album to be the band’s magnum opus, which is exactly why Revenant is such an important record, for critics and fans alike. A few gruelling years in the making, this is an album of a scale and magnitude almost impossible to grasp. Armed with a mature and calmly polished sound, Inferi have achieved the seemingly impossible – a concept album that is interesting, engaging, easy-listening and diverse throughout, with clearly outlined stories and musical passages of astounding beauty, complexity and grace. This album has been a long time coming, and luckily, my anticipation was rewarded, and my expectations immediately crushed.
Inferi don’t do anything halfway, and Revenant is a clear testament to a band superbly confident in their artistic vision. The album is cohesive and well rounded, unapologetically intelligent and brutally heavy. The sheer amount of work that must have gone into the making of this record is overwhelming to even consider. Interestingly, the most impressive aspect of this work is that the staggering number of instruments and layers coexist in the mix perfectly, and even the most obscure elements can be heard thanks to the masterful production. Revenant was tracked and engineered by the band, which is a colossal undertaking for any artist, and a risky one as well. But the result is of superb quality and there is a very organic feel to the music.
At track one, it is immediately apparent that there is a lot to absorb while listening to this record. At times Revenant becomes dense and emotionally heavy, to the point where you might want to take frequent breaks on your first listen. The overall atmosphere is lush, ominous and transporting, almost cinematic in its delivery.
Dizzyingly complex compositions are aided by vast orchestral sections, beautifully executed vocals and a tremendously impressive rhythm section, showcasing world-class musical and song writing ability. As a melodic death metal fan, I can suggest with confidence that Inferi’s music spreads many genres at this point, with something for fans of Dark Tranquility, Cradle of Filth, Fleshgod Apocalypse and even Wintersun present here.
The music transcends genre and style, morphing instead into a beast of its own. Songs like A Beckoning Thrall prove just how diverse this band can be. Sections change in an instant creating a patchwork of musical movements that seemingly should never work together. 6 plus minute epics Within The Dead Horizon and Thy Menacing Gaze showcase a superhuman technical ability and particularly impressive guitar work by .
There are a couple of guest appearances on the record – the brutal Through the Depths features a guitar solo by James Malone of Viginia metallers Arsis, and an even more interesting addition to the album is first single and album closer Behold The Bearer Of Light, Featuring Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder – a worthy introduction to the record, with monstrously heavy guitars and characteristically catchy melodies.
The band has also seen some lineup changes, with new additions including Joel Schwallier (Dawn of Dementia, Kossuth) on bass and Sam Schneider (Abyss Walker) on vocals. Al orchestral works are attributed to guitarist Malcolm Pugh with the aid of Mike Low on Behold the Bearer of Light. It is safe to say Inferi have assembled the perfect team, and they can now safely proceed to dominate the world.
Overall, Revenant is an exhausting but utterly stunning listen that is sure to either pluck at your heart strings straight away or grow fonder with each listen. This is a death metal odyssey of massive proportions – an opus bringing together the best elements of the heavier genres in a body of work that is sure to enthral and impress. Most importantly, this is an album that is capable of exciting the heavy music world about extreme metal once more because it offers a new take on technicality-infused metal, combined with big melodies and sing-along choruses. Or rather, scream-along choruses.
I cannot recommend this album highly enough: Revenant will leave you speechless.