Review Summary: An exercise in excess.20 of 20 thought this review was well written
Infant Annihilator have been a much discussed band over the last few months. Hailing from the UK, the anticipation for these guys’ new album has steadily increased since the video for “Decapitation Fornication” was uploaded to the band’s official YouTube page in October. The video is interesting to say the least, featuring an utterly brutal sound track accompanied by the image of two young men in a forest occupying themselves with an array of activities including but not limited to the milk challenge, building and destroying wooden drum kits and the all too frequent clothed humping session. The obvious question is “are we meant to take these guys seriously?” The answer is a big fat “no”, and that’s precisely where this album’s strength lies, its nonchalant pisstake attitude to anything and everything brutal.
The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution
is an exercise in excess, riddled with inhumanly paced instrumentation and some of the most insane drumming in the genre. These guys obviously aren’t trying to rewrite the extreme music rulebook, they’re merely having fun seeing what happens when you take a genre like deathcore and take it to a level bordering on absurdity. The attitude they’ve taken towards writing the record means that it is ultimately devoid of structure, with no sequence bearing much resemblance to the one that preceded it. From a technical standpoint, at least in terms of the guitar playing, these guys will win marks with fans of speed, but lose out in the eyes of those who are fans of intricacy or melody. While a sizeable chunk of this is played at well into the 200s, even 300s in terms of beats per minute, speed can only compensate so much for the lack of memorable riffs. When the lead guitar comes to the forefront, you’re almost invariably greeted with dweedle-dee sweeping, leaving you with an uncomfortable craving for something a little more interesting. When something that resembles a decent riff manages to trickle its way into a track, it’s so low on the mix that the vocals and drumming (particularly the kick drum) drown it out so that it’s almost impossible to hear it, then once you think you’ve gotten it figured out, it’s gone.
The guitar playing won’t win the hearts of too many (unless you REALLY like sweeping), but if one instrumental performance is worthy of heartfelt praise, it’s the drumming. Although it suffers from the same disease as the guitars in that it features a nagging lack of variety, the speed and precision with which Aaron Kitcher wields a pair of drum sticks is breathtaking. At certain points, particularly during the extended periods of blast beats in “Dedication to The Child Rape Syndicate” and “Immeasurable Foetal Mutilation” (Great song titles, I know), you’ll be hard pressed to believe these drums aren’t programmed. Dan Watson’s vocals, while being relatively impressive, are pretty much constant in their presence, eventually becoming quite grating. The album could have benefitted from some longer and more numerous instrumental breaks that don’t consist of breakdowns. The main saving grace is that they manage to make them interesting enough to be enjoyed when compared to most of the genre’s “star” acts, but the issue remaining is that they’re still far too numerous and far too randomly thrown into a song. The frequent use of breakdowns, along with the production which sports some painfully loud drums will earn the band a sizable number of detractors.
This album, while leaving more to be desires, achieves everything it needs to. The vocals are impressive, the guitars are well executed and the drumming is superb. But more critically, you can tell they had fun making it, which is precisely why it works. The more pressing question concerns their future, and what they will do once the novelty wears off. All the ingredients for a great metal band are here, but it’s simply a matter of them applying themselves, else they run the risk of becoming stangnant. “The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution” is an enjoyable album when approached with the right attitude, and it will leave many with baited breath as to what direction these guys will take with their project.