3 Oct 2016

The Infernal Sea: "The Crypt Sessions"

The mix between old and new that works out just right
Black metal as a genre never quite got the same hold in the United Kingdom as it did in the neighboring countries in Scandinavia. Sure, a few well known bands sprung up here and there - primarily in the more melodic spectrums of the genre. But in recent years the British scene has begun to flourish in a way that it arguably hasn't previously, with bands like Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone and Fen garnering much attention and many positive reviews, and bands like Written in Torment and Nordland (Nordland & The True Cult of the Earth) crawling around as well.

Many of the afforementioned bands share an affinity for cold breezes laden with thick, atmospheric fogs. In that sense, The Infernal Sea are far removed from the pagan practices of their fellow countrymen, as they rely much more heavily on a crusty, chaotic mode of musical expression. Their second release, The Crypt Sessions EP from 2013, takes an approach to the traditional way of structuring a release that is quite unorthodox, with each proper song being preceeded by an introductory track of sorts.

"The crustier punk elements brings to mind the music of Darkthrone somewhere around the F.O.A.D. album,"

This breaking up of norms regarding structure makes for a more interesting listening experience, which in itself is thoroughly underlined by the pulsating abrasive nature of their riffs and the hoarse screams of their lead singer. The crustier punk elements brings to mind the music of Darkthrone somewhere around the F.O.A.D. album, albeit in a way much more subtle and downplayed to a point where it is an influence rather than a dominant factor, serving instead as an accentuation to the indigenous coarser aspects of black metal.

There is something cathartic about the psychotic rambling structures of The Infernal Sea's blasting chaos. The best examples are when they will literally go from completely unhinged anarchic torrents to pieces where the composition is much more controlled and deliberate, whereupon the great tension that the British group creates are released in bursts of burning hot steam.

At times these shifts in temperament work against the flow and aren't as beneficial to the wholesomeness of the EP as one could hope. Skinwalker is an example of a track where it works ideally, but there are more examples where a smoother progression seems more advantageous. The Crypt Sessions seems at the same time both highly experimental, like a band working towards a goal of achieving a sound entirely their own, and like a tribute to the traditions of the genre. It is this ambiguosity that, along with the unusual flow, makes it tempting to start the EP over when it is done playing, and it is that which keeps you coming back for more.


Released in 2013 independently


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