Review Summary: Take out your umbrellas, boys and girls, it's raining metal.
Infected Rain are the best Moldovan band I've ever known. They are also the only Moldovan band I've ever known. Now, before you make me look for them at the bottom of the bag where you all keep your Spiritboxes and your Jinjers, let me elucidate that the Eastern metalcore squad has been around for quite a while. Debuting in 2011 with Asylum
, the band showed little to no promise of becoming no more than a poor man's nu-metal quick fix. Limited musicianship and primitive songwriting were on display. The band's flagbearer, frontwoman and professional belter Elena "Lena Scissorhands" Cataraga could be heard trying to sauce things up growling aimlessly and singing melodies that would slide down from to ear to ear completely unnoticed, so their debut didn't create much more that some local buzz and three years passed with no clouds on the sky of the city of Chișinău .
The band kept grinding their gears relentlessly, and release after release, the Moldavans got significantly better. They started to sound like an actual band by the time they released 86
in 2017 and Scissorhands started to provide even better melodies and screams. Infected Rain was finally starting to find their place in the alpha male dominated metalcore scene. Comparisons with In This Moment were unavoidable, but at this point, the band led by Maria Brink were already lost in their horror goth spaghetti western endeavors. Infected Rain could have slouched on the throne of lady fronted metal bands while selling records like popcorn. Scissorhands’ image was evolving from nu-metal Pokémon to ultimate nu-metal Valkyrie. They had it all. They could have run amok the European festival circuit without having to worry about any other band shadowing them, but alas, new neighbors, a good family of Ukrainians known as Jinjer, moved in and a certain "Pisces" song became the exploding meme that the Moldovans never had, and so Infected Rain was forced to open the umbrella, and wait until the storm had passed once again.
So here we are, a couple of albums later and just a few days into 2022, the perfect moment, calculated with expert precision by label war veterans Napalm Records, to unleash some more Infected Rain unto the masses. For the band led by Scissorhands this means their fifth release in a decade, and one that differs greatly from that crew that played in Asylum
ten years ago. Now, you can apply this to any other style too, but if you don't have a solid opener in modern times and you are trying to sell the world a metalcore album clocking a little under an hour, it's not crazy to say that the chances of luring listeners to check out their cart are lower than my post-marriage libido these days. Fortunately, "Postmorterm Pt.1" bangs. It actually bangs so hard that here I am telling you how much it bangs instead of someone more appropriate for these metalcore shenanigans. So, don't believe them. Believe me.
Before I start naming tracks with the only purpose of hiding a sneaky track-by-track review, which is not going to happen, I promise, let me tell you about the overall sound of this thing before I forget. The production in the band's latest is cleaner than in previous albums, almost too sharp for my taste, especially on the kickdrum, but it's immediately noticeable that the band is more comfortable with what they are doing now, not forcing the technicality of Jinjer or the pop al djent
of Spiritbox, and instead opting for some simple but effective riffing and sticky choruses throughout the twelve tracks included on the album.
starts strong, we know that already, but how does the rest of the album fares the weather? Well, the opener is followed by "Fighter", which became one of the singles and had the chops to do so: a tanking riff, some pretty chorus sections and a cool vid to support it. Tracks like "Goodbye" or "Showers" show optimal results of the band's stark and aggressive formula, combined with some really good work on Lena's cleans, while songs like "Longing" play with “poppier” influences or even some drum'n'bass that add much needed variety for a record of this length.
also offers some stale nuggets of metal: "The Realm of Chaos", a collaboration with Heidi Shepherd from sister band Butcher Babies, is almost laughable since Lena and Heidi have almost identical screams, which makes the feature almost futile, even if the track itself is not too shabby. It's here where the album starts to lose a bit of momentum too, although not too much, since the run from “Everlasting Lethargy" to "November" still has some enjoyable moments, but not as inspired as those in the first half.
To bring things to an end, the Moldovans pull the emergency break and the machine stops with a screech titled "Nine, Ten", a slow and dreamy tune that could have been erased by someone placing a beer on the studio's PC keyboard by mistake and no one would have ever noticed. "Postmortem Pt.2", you guessed that right, brings the album full cycle with the same melodic part sang by Scissorhands, reprising later some sections that evolve into new ideas and slight deviations of the main melody. It's a cool resource that brings closure to what is in all honesty a very solid metal album, although truth is, it could have benefited from a shorter running time, with maybe a couple of tracks less, because by the time the closer kicks in high are the chances you have forgotten about the opener already.
The positives surpass the negatives in Ecdysis
, and that would be an acceptable conclusion. For fans of the genre, Infected Rain should already be on your library at this point, but if they aren't this record is a good reason to let them in. Chances are they will ram right into your platform of choice anyway, since the year is still long, young and full of terrors, and you know what they say in Moldavia... yeah, exactly that.