Thursday, March 17, 2016

Injury Deepen - Anthropophagous Realm (2016; New Standard Elite)

Injury Deepen are not a new band, but I'm not personally familiar with their 2012 debut or their earlier demo material. The music on Anthropophagous Realm, their 2016 release on New Standard Elite, is seemingly a combination of influences with a rather wide range for brutal death metal, all filtered and directed into a 26-minute assault.

The first track blasts off with aplomb, reminding me instantly of some of the more well-known BDM that came out of Europe around the turn of the century/millennium. The blasting technique and chunky, semi-blurred riffs remind me of Disavowed and Pyaemia, for instance, but I also pick up some Severe Torture-like twists and turns here. Disgorge is a definite reference point as well, as this brings to mind the raw, straightforward brutality and Matti Way vocal attack of She Lay Gutted decently often in my mind. Riffs generally feel bouncy and well-constructed, with obvious melodic moments eschewed in favor of rhythmic interplay with the drum patterns. This is a bit of a weird album because it sounds next-to-nothing like most stuff coming out of Indonesia. I was confused upon first listen because, hey, it's not very much like Jasad at all! All joking aside, that's a great thing here, and it's a breath of fresh air to hear something coming out these days that reminds me of the "old" 2000s BDM scene where there wasn't even a hard-and-fast divide between slam and BDM as there tends to be these days. Production is generally pretty solid, highlighting the obscene low-end rumble of the bass (which is even well-played at times; always nice to hear in stuff like this) and serving to highlight the hefty guitar tone. The drumming is serviceable and definitely to-style, but there are times where I feel it could sound a bit better or be more compositionally-interesting. Overall, though, those parts are few and far between and the rhythm section is pretty damn good and appropriately brutal-sounding.

There are a few really good "semi-melodic" sections with epic, marching rhythms that remind me a bit of mid-era Deeds of Flesh, as well. One of these features on the excellently-titled "Throne of Mangled Flesh," in which it actually acts as a kind of mini-chorus. That brings me to something else of note here: songwriting. Songwriting is one of the most make-it-or-break-it parts of brutal death metal, at least to me. You can have tons of slams and blast at 250+ BPM or whatever, but if there isn't a good groundwork, it's all kind of worthless in the end. Luckily, the boys in Injury Deepen understand this and often choose to focus on only several handpicked riffs per song, developing each to its logical conclusion and then switching things up in some way or another, whether that be transitioning from slow to fast tempo or throwing in a fill that leads to a continuation that flows well. One of the best moments on the album for this occurs right in the middle of the album, during "Intimate Dissection Ritual." A groovy chug riff drives right into a faster blasty/overly-complicated riff somewhat like something off the newest Disentomb before just absolutely bombing right into one of the best slams I've heard in recent memory. This breakdown even features some interesting basswork (though you have to pay attention as it's subtle) and pretty much continues until the end of the song. It's just absolutely massive and made even more destructive by the relative lack of big "slammy" breakdowns on the album.

Another one of my favorite things about this album would be the amazing attention paid to vocal phrasing. This guy might have a somewhat "generic" voice, but the way he fits himself into these snaking rhythms is usually pretty genius (just listen to the way the first song erupts: dude knows what he's doing). It's one of the few modern brutal death albums that I could see myself learning the lyrics to just to growl along with the album. It's really satisfying to me when this guy belts out rapid-fire verses, for some reason.

Overall, this is a really good brutal death metal album that sounds very much not like something from 2016. That isn't a bad thing at all, however, and this will definitely rekindle your lust for older-school BDM. The combination of chunky, riff-based writing and the album's short length assure that you'll get a lot of spins out of Anthropophagous Realm. Time to dust off your old CDs by bands from the 2000s Unique Leader and Unmatched Brutality rosters; Injury Deepen's about to show you that they can jam just like you remembered those albums do!