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A Ritual Within - 70%

Tengan, August 14th, 2013

'My Journey to the Stars', 'To Walk the Infernal Fields', 'In the Cold Winds of Nowhere'; all classic black metal tunes each depicting one of the many emotions found within the broad range of music that is black metal. Not necessarily found in those specific songs, but they serve their purpose as examples nonetheless. Should one name a track symbolizing the emotions found on Infera Bruo's sophomore album 'Desolate Unknown' it would be the fourth track 'Ritual Within'. During 49 minutes 'Desolate Unknown' embarks it's listener on an emotional ride with build-up of aggression, release, return to control and rejuvenation.

The embodiment of said emotions is manifested through a solid foundation of Enslaved/Naglfar-styled black metal with a set of underlying influences. The melodic black metal riffage is simple yet effective utilizing small variations of the fundamental riffs with great result. These lines would have made fairly well on their own, but the band top up their music with some solid space rock-influences, atonal Deathspell Omega-riffing, technical death and heavy metal, expanding it another dimension without ever losing the base of their sound. These wide influences become a natural elongation of the bands melodic black metal instead of colliding with it. The space rock-influences are particularly abundant but achieves more than anything the feeling of a journey to the deep within rather than outer space. Manifested mainly on keyboards it is still stripped and ill-boding rather than symphonic and bombastic.

Apart from the two Teitanblood/Necros Christos-on-acid interludes, 'Segue I' and 'Segue II', all tracks follow a similar pattern with an up-tempo bulk, a mid-song drop in tempo and build-up towards the finish. In the middle sections the space rock often takes the upper hand, sometimes accompanied by acoustic guitars or dissonant atonal lines and even a spoken sample on 'Ritual Within'. The neat interweave of this diverse musical spectra comes no less due to the clear sounding production. Only the vocals have found its place a bit too far down in the mix. Typical black metal vocals are varied with clean singing, resembling those of Anaal Nathrakh, mostly through the choruses. The latter seem to have been given a more prominent place in the mix than their more traditional black metal counterpart, but it is difficult to tell whether this was a deliberate choice or rather an effect of the choruses generally being more straightforward compared to the rest of the music.

Firmly sticking to the underground 'Desolate Unknown' is at this time only available at gigs or directly through the band. Hopefully this will not shy people since Infera Bruo deserves all the support. Apart from a somewhat "unfinished" opening track, 'Desolate Unknown' makes for a really pleasant listen presenting a rather unique brand of progressive black metal. The band is yet to reach the top layer of the genre but this album clearly displays a band on the route to even greater deeds.

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