Review Summary: The murky crossroads of meditation and devastation.
Remember Dead in the Dirt
" The American vegan grind agents offered a crushing full-length entitled "The Blind Hole" in 2013, upon which the project was put on hold, much to our dismay. Afterwards, vocalist/guitarist Blake Connally formed death/grind group Infernal Coil with two other members (simply known as Blight and Glum), releasing two EPs in 2014 and 2017, respectively. With much hype surrounding it, they released their new album "Within a World Forgotten" under the prolific Profound Lore Records, whose discography expands more and more with home runs and sleeper hits in an expanding range of genres. "Within a World Forgotten" serves to be not only a solid release for the label, but also a challenging and complex listen for death metal fans.
While every deathgrind trope is firmly present in "Within a World Forgotten", its strength lies in the fusion of two different sounds within it. It cannot be pigeonholed into being another Dying Fetus
or Cattle Decapitation
ripoff; rather, it utilizes the blastbeating drums, the shredding dissonant guitars, and the roaring vocals and drowns it all in waves of distortion, noise, and a distinctly muddy soundscape. While latest genre additions "Wrong One to *** With" and "The Anthropocene Extinction" sound clean as a whistle and are produced in a way that each instrument can be distinguished from the rest, Infernal Coil's sound is more akin to the eerie murky omens of black/death stalwarts Portal or chaotic dread offerings of tech-death disso-gents Ulcerate. The result is a blend of brutality and atmospherics unlike any I've heard in the genre.
Openers "Wounds Never Close" and "Continuum Cruciatus" are exercises in dense brutality, unrelenting in blastbeats and low-end tremolo, exercising Connally's roaring vocals pushed to a scathing limit. Meanwhile, tracks such as "Crusher of the Seed", "Reflections of Waldeinsamkeit", and "Bodies Set in Ashen Death" simmer in dread and brooding doom atmosphere, pushing the vocals back and allowing the noise to dominate in strange moments of melody and strain, including eerie spoken word samples that cut through the noise sharply and effectively.
Tracks "49 Suns" and closer "In Silent Vengeance" are the centerpieces of the album, the respective eyes of the hurricane, as their style revolves around a truly meditative and clean sound that contrasts heavily with the murky chaos that surrounds it. The last five minutes of the nine-minute "49 Suns" revolves around beautiful ambience, quiet melodic plucking, and ominous, almost ritualistic, drums carrying it. The intro of "In Silent Vengeance" takes its time in swelling ambience, distant hooting of an owl, and distorted spoken word samples, while the track's dynamic structure itself feels almost post-metal-esque. Its closing features an ominous doom passage, complete with screeching female vocals and an almost overbearing atmospheric noise overlay that fades the track into silence.
Although there are so many layers of sound at work here that take time to digest and internalize, I found myself spinning "Within a World Forgotten" easily and gladly. Its 36-minute runtime is accessible and the fusion of murk and grind is strangely listenable. Contrary to the murk-giants aforementioned, whose big ideas seem almost too big for casual listening, Infernal Coil's debut LP is not a chore to sit through, and its replay value is enormous.
Fans of deathgrind and "esoteric" death metal, I have found your new favorite thing.