Review Summary: A big middle finger for anyone who cares to look.
Hurling vitriol at Infant Annihilator and expecting it to resonate is a fool’s errand; they’re the musical equivalent of that kid in primary school who shot paper wasps at the teacher’s behind when she wasn’t looking, then with a shi
t-eating grin would point at the person sitting next to them. The kid was totally insufferable, but you couldn’t help but be impressed at how he would get a bulls-eye from across the room without fail. He was so good at what he did you could’ve sworn that among the Swastikas and crudely-drawn genitalia throughout his notebook were aeronautical formulas. You’re not the only one to have pondered what he could’ve achieved if he applied himself, but don’t bother, because nobody knows and nobody will.
Infant Annihilator’s attitude echoes that of the errant classroom marksman to a tee. They’re technically gifted and probably a fair bit smarter than they let on, but they revel in pissing off those who tell them they can do so, so much better. I can’t fault them at how they play their game; the scorn that they cop from their detractors is so potent that you’d think their moniker isn’t actually tongue-in-cheek. However, behind said cheek is still a product: their sophomore album, The Elysian Grandeval Galèriarch
. Regrettably, without the comical homo-eroticism of their videos as an accompaniment, the music here becomes exceedingly tiresome. Aaron Kitcher’s electric drum kit is only a tad more tolerable than on the band’s debut, with particular emphasis on that statement’s relativism. The guy can play, no doubt, but I can only be so rapt with inhumanly-paced double-kicks and gravity blasts when the sensation is akin to that of a pneumatic drill to the head, so to speak.
One token of solace is that guitarist Eddie Pickard has improved out of sight, notwithstanding some questionable creative decisions on the part of him and his bandmates. “Unholy Gravebirth” has a Meshuggah-esque bout of machismo; the explosive tremolo riff in the first verse of “Crucifilth” aptly sets the stage for the rest of the song, else it would lack rhyme and reason; “Soil the Stillborn” remains the album’s highlight by shirking the band’s chuggier approach for something that is almost blackened by comparison. These moments are few and far between though, as the rest of the album is still filled to the brim with clichés from metal’s most maligned incarnations; even the aforementioned tremolo sequences are smothered by Kitcher’s incessant double-bass. Throw in Dickie Allen’s omnipresent vocals, which fall somewhere in between those of Cattle Decapitation’s Travis Ryan and a rabid Pomeranian, and what we have is an album that immediately wears on your patience but for a handful of saving graces.
The appeal of The Elysian Grandeval Galèriarch
stems almost entirely from the irreverence of its creators, which is a convenient means of self-vindication in this scenario, I guess. Why is there a 17-minute song in the middle of the album, you ask? Because, fu
ck you. Now, if this modus operandi is what you look for above everything else as a listener, then Infant Annihilator’s latest offering may well be your poison. If not, save your time.