Review Summary: Death metal as dark and ominous as the shadow that looms over Innsmouth
Presumably straight from the otherworldly depths of R’lyeh, the under-produced sludge that leaks from Innsmouth’s first LP conjures images that are appropriately Lovecraftian. This brand of death metal is all that is great about the genre: leviathan riffing wrapped in a package that can barely contain the filth-ridden tones that bellow out from within. It’s a 6-track affair that, while containing mostly lengthier tracks, feels oddly swift considering the down-tempo tunes that Innsmouth put forth. That is quite a complement, though, because nothing is ever left hanging out to dry; riffs consistently swell in and out or, in the case of some of the faster licks, break down the door then jump out the window. It’s a satisfying depravity that only seems to fully manifest itself in this type of death metal: riff-laden, murky, degenerative heaviness that, due to these qualities, is insanely listenable. The bass is thick and chunky; the vocals coated with an acidic rawness that manages to seep into every crevice and corner of an album that, by the nature of its style, relies on these qualities to succeed.
Everything on Consumed by Elder Sign
does succeed, because Innsmouth know who they are and what they are trying to do. It’s not a pretty album, not a complex one, not a technical one. It is about as simple as you can get with death metal: swirling riffing and primitive vocals doused in a production that tends to slam the lows and bring out the highs when solos do come around. Rarely breaking from a plod, the album carries some attitude through its tempo, which takes things easy while allowing the guitars to roam around from riff to riff, harnessed only by the simplistic drumming that keeps it all in line. There are no attempts here to depart from the warm confines of this blend of murky death metal, and that’s part of the appeal. Consumed by Elder Sign
is a comforting album because of its refusal to branch out, but still conjures a thick atmosphere of mystery that mirrors its subject matter with perfection.