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Not perfect, but at least it's somewhat unique... - 77%

Vautour, March 19th, 2011

I've got to say that I mostly came up with the idea to review this album after noticing how often it is being panned. Infernaeon simply are not your average death metal band, so it's kind of unfair to judge them because of their unwillingness to conform to some of death metal's "rules".

Their greatest "flaw" when it comes to that is probably that they have a very dominant keyboard player. And now you're probably thinking of melodic death metal like Dark Tranquillity, where keyboards work perfectly. Well, Infernaeon play US death metal, Florida style. The only such band that was any good and had a keyboard player I could think of were Nocturnus, whose "The Key" is an absolute classic and a great atmospheric death metal album.

But Infernaeon are not even close to Nocturnus. And that is mostly due to how exactly they use the keyboards. Infernaeon's keyboard player does not simply add some subtle melodies here and there or uses some weird sounds to help create a dark atmosphere. He usually doubles the guitar riffs, what can be slightly annoying if you're not used to it. Imagine Morbid Angel with the keyboard player of Children of Bodom doubling all guitar lines. Sounds bad? It is. At least when you listen to "Genesis to Nemesis" for the first time.

Once you've listened to it 2 or 3 times, it starts to grow on you. You'll actually notice that you don't really notice the keyboards all that much anymore, except for those moments in which they add something vital to the songs. Which is rarely the case, but occasionally it happens that they accentuate the riffs really well. And Infernaeon do have some sweet, very diverse riffs. Sometimes they lean more to the thrashy side of death metal, sometimes they display a clear black metal influence. But they are always semi-melodic and executed in a highly competent manner. Infernaeon surely are no technical death metal band, but their guitarists and the drummer definitely know what they're doing. The keyboard player doesn't know it as well as the rest of the band, but what the hell. You should pay more attention to Brian Werner's Anti-Christian rants anyway.

Now you're probably thinking: Sounds sweet, but why only 77%? Well, except for the keyboard parts, there are some minor issues as well. First of is the terribly annoying keyboard intro. The idea is good and everything but it's too damn long. Way too damn long. Second would be the even more annoying Metallica cover "Creeping Death" featuring Oderus Urungus (GWAR). I don't have anything against Metallica or GWAR, but putting this in the middle of the album as track 6 is so stupid that it hurts. On the one hand, Oderus Urungus makes Infernaeon sound like a comedy/gimmick band, what is bad enough. But on the other hand, it totally destroys the flow of the album. Once you reach track 6, you're not paying attention to the omnipresent keyboards anymore and finally start to get sucked in by the dark atmosphere of "Genesis to Nemesis"... and BANG, you're back to thinking that Infernaeon are a joke. It would have been a lot more appropriate to use the song as a bonus track or something.
The last thing would be that the keyboards are very prominent in overall sound of the album. Not only that there are keyboard sounds everywhere, they are also loud as hell. They would be a lot less annoying if they were somewhat quieter.

If you're into non-average US death metal, I'd highly recommend that you give Infernaeon a try. Just don't expect them to blow your mind.