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Thrash Metal with punk vocals & attitude - 70%

Wirthormentor, August 17th, 2007

Infernö started out as a semi-serious Thrash Metal-side project by some semi-famous norwegian Metal musicians, just like their countrymen Desekrator. I can well imagine that they only formed the ‘band’ as an excuse to simply get drunk together at rehearsals (and they wouldn’t be the first nor the last band to have started this way); but because of the Thrash Metal-revival that appeared in the mid-nineties, Osmose Productions, jumping on that bandwagon, signed them, alongside the more credible swedish Bewitched and Gehennah. Instead of Infernö, Osmose should have signed the great Aura Noir or Nocturnal Breed though, because Infernös debut album wasn’t anything more than a bad joke and a huge rip-off from various 80s Thrash bands (in fact, it only offered sloppily performed medleys of a dozen german and U.S. Thrash Metal classics). Like swedish Guillotine, Infernö were scarcely more than a mere cover band.

The music on their second album ‘Downtown Hades’, however, seems to be written by the band themselves, at least for the most part (or it might be that the riffs are simply stolen from bands unknown to me, which is improbable since I know everything…). And that music is pretty enjoyable: simple, mostly fast Thrash Metal with violent riffs and vigorous drumming, not offering anything new at all but still sounding somehow fresh - I don’t know, there’s somewhat of a punk-feeling to it, and I mean that in a positive way, even though I hate punk-rock. It’s so gruff, raw, direct and reckless – it’s performed in a very dirty and energetic yet also very tight way. Unlike punk-rockers, these guys know how to play their instruments. The core of the music remains 100% Thrash Metal though, and differs in this with most of the other scandinavian ‘retro-Thrash’ bands, which mix their Thrash Metal with a more or less heavy dose of second-wave Black Metal. Most important however, this album sounds honest; you can hear that the band was serious recording it (except for the vocals) - this is not simply a parody like their half-assed debut, this time they actually tried to record a decent album, and succeeded in doing so, at least partially. The fact that they still exist these days and still play Thrash Metal, now that the ‘retro Thrash’-boom has long since ended, further leads to believe that they have developed from a mere fun-project into a real band.

But now to the vocals: how could I best describe them… to me, it seems as if the band had finished recording all the instruments and then suddenly realized that they completely forgot about the vocals. Since they didn’t have more than a couple of hours left in the studio and were too lazy to do them by themselves, they decided to just go out on the dirty streets of downtown Hades – err, I mean downtown Oslo and ask the 1st bum they’d find to come to the studio and do the vocals, promising him 2 cans of cheap beer (probably ‘Grans bare øl’) as payment for his services. Back in the studio, the band hastily scribbled down some lyrics and twenty minutes later the bum, who was given the embarrassing name of ‘Hazardous Pussy Desecrator’ ( I suppose they found that very funny at the time), randomly shouts mostly incomprehensible rants into the mic. He reminds me a bit of a junkie hysterically screaming and yelling at his companions after being stolen his smack by them... Ok, I might have exaggerated a bit, but you get the point, the vocals sound improvised and are annoying as hell, yes, even as utter hell. They become more bearable with each can of beer you drink though.

The playing time of a scarce half-hour is adequate, some might say it is more than enough. ‘Downtown Hades’ is well suited as a warm-up to a Thrash Metal-party, before putting on some of the much more worthy 80s masterpieces of the genre; enjoy a six-pack (no less!) beer cans while listening to this album and have fun, but don’t ever get the idea of taking it seriously.