Following on from the enjoyable Obliteration of the Self, with its homage to classic old-school Swedish death metal, Inert return with Vermin as a changed beast; two new band members, and an expanded set of influences.
The band’s old-school Swedish death metal base has been added to with wider elements taken from death metal’s rich classic history, resulting in songs that combine jackhammer brutality, melodic appeal, and savage delivery.
The songs are very well-written, making the most of a variety of heavy riffs, ugly blast beats, and enticing leads. The music has a dynamic energy to it on occasion that’s hard to deny, and this contributes to how damn catchy and memorable the songs tend to be.
Vermin has a mid-90s feel to it, and I mean this as more than just a nod to the band’s influences. I’m also referring to the type of songwriting that gives us brutal hooks aplenty, the type that you just don’t seem to get on a lot of modern death metal albums. This is an album of actual songs that has something to say. Passion and a careful crafting of the music has clearly gone into this record, and it shows.
The band’s use of melody is very strong. Not only when it comes to attention-grabbing, headline leads, but also more subtly baked into some of the rhythms and riffs. It’s one of the many reasons why Inert have become the highly enjoyable monster that they apparently have.
Add to all of the above the fact that the album is well-paced, flows well, and has a decent amount of diversity in its 37-minute playing time, (within its self-set framework we get everything from scathingly fast blasting to slow, doom passages), and you have a firm winner here.
Well, this was a surprise. I expected another slab of Swedish death metal, something enjoyable but ultimately nothing too notable. What Inert have delivered, however, is a satisfying and well-realised death metal record, one which channels a lot of the great things about 90s death metal, while still managing to sound relevant to 2019.