Review Summary: From 0 to 11 in zero seconds, Inferi launch into an instant classic without hesitation...
Like the steps of a distant monolith, the first fifteen or so seconds of The Path of Apotheosis like any handful of death metal albums would. No wait, there’s a pseudo soaring guitar. Alright, not completely original, but caught me off guard there. Whoa, funky little bass groove there. What the hell, piano, this seems nice…Holy ***ing hell, that groan, and then the thrashy beat. Now the blistering double bass. What the hell is going on here?
This album isn’t exactly what you’d call a standard fare into technical death metal. Sure, you’ve got the stupid fast guitar licks, blast beats and deadly vocals. You’ve even got the atmospheric or jazzy interludes thrown about to keep things interesting. All pretty straight-forward, right? Wrong. This album does great and keeping the standard tropes of technical death metal fresh as just baked bread.
The keys throughout the music teeter on the edge of symphonic, recalling faint touches of DImmu Borgir, but never tipping the scales into cheese territory. The drums are competent, bouncing easily between breakneck blast beats and double bass to a gently swinging gallop to accentuate the boundaries the band seems keen to play with. The guitars soar like eagles and rip like vultures. Simple as that. The vocals jump from the raspy bark reminiscent of Son of Aurelius and to a low growl that could easily find its home in any number of hallowed halls of the dead. Even the production is great. In a genre filled with static and noise, Inferi’s brutality is as clear as day from start to finish. Hell, even the clean vocals on Destroyer sound good. How many tech death bands can say that?!?!
Now, this album isn’t without faults. One of the biggest complaints that I have with most metal bands is the inaudibility of the bass. There are a couple of places here and there where the chaos quiets down a bit, and of course the more melodic parts are shining grounds, however, a great deal of the album could be lacking the bass track, for all that I know. When the bass does rear it’s head, it’s impressive. Why not have more it to spread around?
Also, one of the things that you’ll notice while listening to this album is the sheer scope of everything. It feels like this is the score to the most vicious movie ever made. While this is a good thing, it wears a little thin going through the last few songs. I found myself getting overloaded with all the grinding riffs and snarled vocals. A break is necessary. Ideally about halfway, or two thirds of the way through. I’m not sure what the band could have done to alleviate this, but I found the entire experience more enjoyable on the second and each subsequent listen after giving it a break. Someone suggested stopping after The Ophidian Form, and it works perfectly. It feels like the first act closes with this song, and the next starts the new chapter with a triumphant guitar that ushers in the closing half of the album.
Inferi is from Nashville, TN, not far from where I live, and I must say, I’m stoked that such a murderous album is coming from a place that normally only sees country music and Jack White. The Path of Apotheosis is a breath of fresh air in a quickly stagnating genre of music. Do yourself a favor, go to their bandcamp, listen to the album, and support these guys. They could easily be one of the biggest names in technical metal in the coming years.