The Infernal Sea – The Great Mortality (Review)

The Infernal SeaThis is the second album by UK black metallers The Infernal Sea.

This is sophisticated black metal that still manages to somehow sound filthy, ugly and grim. It’s a beguiling combination that sees the band combine atmosphere and ferocity in tantalising ways across this 42 minute release.

The second-wave influences of The Infernal Sea are sharpened and distorted through the band’s personal blackened experiences to the point that they very much make the style their own, and this is great to hear. Think of a cross between aspects of certain parts of Satyricon and Mayhem’s work, mixed in with the odd bit of Keep of Kalessin and Forgotten Tomb here and there. This will set the scene, certainly, but doesn’t prepare you for how nuanced and individual The Great Mortality actually is. Although it’s certainly of the genre it purports to be, it’s also very definitely its own beast.

I particularly enjoy some of the dark guitar melodies that are almost hidden within the pitch-black riffs. The blackened, frosted feel of the music is aided and abetted by such joyous viciousness that the songs seem to revel as they deal out pain and despair like it was the end of days.

There are some really nice touches to this album. The band are certainly not without ideas, but importantly they have the talent to pull them off. The entire release is very well-written and delivered in such a way that even on first listen you know you have something special on your hands here.

Wielding atmosphere, mood and dynamic distorted malice in equal measure, these songs are masterfully crafted exemplars of how to do black metal right in 2016. The Infernal Sea show how it’s done, managing to stay true to the original core values of the style while also including enough of their own experimentation and refinements to truly make the work their own.

The vocals are extremely satisfying to listen to. Mainly consisting of unhinged screams, we also get some very nicely-performed growls, some chanting cleans and some more atypical moans/vocalisations that remind me of Mayhem in some ways.

As you can probably tell, I’m very enamoured with this. As well as the sheer quality of the music here the production is judged just right too. In fact, all parts of the holistic package that is The Great Mortality are just as we’d want them to be and basically the entire thing is a cracking listen that just gets better the more time you spend with it.

So highly recommended it hurts.

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