With an abundance of ever-changing riffs and a darkened buzzing atmosphere, Innsmouth manages to sneak into the best death-metal album of 2009 (albeit a little late) discussion with only the experience of one album under their belt. The Departure Of Shub-Niggurath
operates in a fairly standard way, combining a slight fuzzy production to loose drumming and riffs that are setup by different palm-muting mutations and tempos. While the songwriting stays relatively simliar throughout, The Departure...
is quite the easy listen because it never feels forced and has a short run time through its 4 tracks. It works like a quick shot to the heart; an album that comes and goes like a breeze, but will be stored in the listener's brain for some time.
The guitars are the main focal point here as they drive the tracks along. Riffs change from quick rhythmic sections to more brooding open-ended type riffs that really keep the pace and flow of the album moving nicely. There isn't much melody to be found here and that works in Innsmouth's favor; the album is hollow, dense, and buzzes around like a hornet. The guitarist throws in a solo at the beginning of the closing track, "Arrival Of The Nightgaunts" to keep things fresh and it's a nice change of sound from constant pounding rhythms to a more flowing melody. Vocally, the screamer sounds downright evil in his attempt to tell the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, an American horror novelist, which gives The Departure...
an extra boost of ethereality. Their band name even comes from a fictional town in one of Lovecraft's books. One part of the beginning track "Aloof With Cloven Hooves" is especially noteworthy; out of nowhere the constant guitar drops out of the sound and all you're left with is the bass underneath excellent cymbal work and guitar feedback. The sudden change is effective and showcases a nice touch of variety in Innsmouth's compositions.
While they need to show a bit more in terms of execution and production to be considered a highly regarded death-metal band, Innsmouth are well on their way. Their debut is rough, tough, mean, and lean, and showcases an outstanding guitar player who creates memorable and innovative riffs that depend on buildups of palm-muted chugging which gives The Departure Of Shub-Niggurath
a very heavy feel. While the drumming is never spectacular, it gives the album room to breathe among the dense guitar playing and works well as an afterthought, a mere set up to the guitars and vocals. Innsmouth doesn't break any new ground here, but they do show that they could be a band to reckon with in the coming years. 3.8/5