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There is a conspiracy afoot here, a rather dastardly plan against one of the most obvious truths known to man of groove metal’s lackluster nature. This illuminati-like scheme has sought to take the least offensive aspects of the mid-90s bastardization of thrash and inject it with a fairly strong bit of death/thrash. This conspiracy bears the name of one of the most loved and hated names in thrash circles, depending on which era the name denotes; that name being Cavalera. Like a modern sledgehammer smashing stone into dust, it defies most of the established dogmas instilled by its namesake’s former outfit Sepultura and others such as Machine Head and Pantera, and brings something much more intense to the table.
If one were to attribute to “Inflikted” the description of being a “Roots” follow up, said person would do well to revisit said mid 90s album of horridness for a quick reorientation on the textbook definition of sucking, as well as to better reestablish the boundaries between nu-metal and groove metal. If anything, a comparison to the somewhat stronger “Chaos A.D.” would be better, though still pretty far off from the right picture. This thing relentlessly offers up pounding riffs with minimal studio toy sounds, avoids the goofy tribal nonsense, and somewhat resembles the direction that Machine Head took on “The Blackening”, although it comes off as less pretentious and avoids sounding like metalcore.
In spite of the positive things going on here, it is important to remember that this is not a return to the band’s early Death/Thrash pioneer days, or the high flying riff extravaganza of “Beneath The Remains”. This is a full out modern revisualization of a few bits and pieces of Sepultura’s past, and tends to emulate all of its various eras before Max Cavalera’s exodus. Sometimes they seem to be reaching back to that time a little in faster assaults such as “Sanctuary” and “Hex”, both of which have enough lead guitar detailing to almost resemble Arsis. In fact, apart from the vocals, which do tend towards a hardcore shouting character; a lot of these songs really seem to take a fair number of nods from recent tech. death bands, though the songwriting stays much more streamlined and in conformity with standards of accessibility.
Consistently good is probably the best way to sum up “Inflikted”, which establishes Cavalera Conspiracy as a potentially serious player in the modern Metal scene. Whether they’re pounding out thudding Groove work with a tasteful and measured amount of tribal percussive additives in “Terrorize” and “Dark Ark”, or galloping and riffing into a modern variant on textbook Thrash in “Hearts Of Darkness”, things flow smoothly. This isn’t quite something that will wow everybody, being more like a good album with a few great elements rather than all out amazing, but it could win over a few older fans of death and thrash, along with roping in all of the newer generation who are more accustomed to an overtly polished production. In other words, not quite an essential purchase, but definitely something worth looking into if one is inclined towards fast and heavy music with fancy guitar work and raunchy shouts.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on July 18, 2010.