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Testament - 72%

Felix 1666, March 24th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2010, 7" vinyl, Goathorned Productions (Gatefold, Limited edition)

Doubtlessly, "The Infernal Return" was a correct title, but "The Infernal End" would have been correct as well. It was the last vinyl the band ever published and due to the death of Dave Parland (R.I.P.), we will never see the comeback of the formation. His suicide was the tragic final point of the story of Infernal (666). Once a real band, Parland was the only member left when recording this sonic testament. Only a session drummer supported him.

This 7" is less biting than its very extreme precursors. Nevertheless, the songs dive deeply in the blackest oceans. Parland has never betrayed his followers and therefore the two songs and the intro have much in common with some tunes of Dark Funeral. The all-round artist plays the typical black, typical Swedish melody lines while he barks constantly genre-typical words. Nevertheless, it is surprising to experience that some mid-paced parts are integrated. They do not significantly disturb the - forgive me for using this word now - inferno, but they prevent the evocation of this utterly insane touch that some tracks of the previous outputs have. Although the double bass is permanently in action, the songs are not as intense as, for example, "Branded by Hellfire" from the second EP. Of course, the atmosphere is very dark and the riffs do not lack excellence, but the final kick is missing. Blast beats do not show up and the guitars are no raging beasts but important tools to create the desired mood. That's okay, but it does not make my pulse race faster.

With respect to this situation, I do not fully understand why the back of the gatefold vinyl speaks of Satanic black death metal. No doubt, formations like Dissection or Necrophobic also do not only focus on absolute velocity and vehemence. Nevertheless, I thought that the creation of red hot steel was the core competency of the here reviewed group and the eerie intro seems to promise a storm of devastation, but the two songs do not totally fulfil this promise. And this is a pity, because after eight years of silence, I expected a more destructive offering. Moreover, I hoped to get more than only eight minutes of new music. Of course, quality beats quantity, but is this an excuse for this minimalist output? However, maybe I am too rational.

In a nutshell, this is no jewel, but a vinyl with a really strong song on the A and a less furious, partly melodic number on the B side. The slightly dull production does not show grave defects while spreading a pestilent aroma. However, Infernal's end was no reason to cry, because the fragile line-up never scored with eagerness or creativity. The end of Dave Parland has definitely been more tragic.

A truly infernal return - 90%

dismember_marcin, December 18th, 2012

I always had a lot of sympathy for the person of David Parland, as I just really, really liked his way of playing, his characteristic composing style, with those memorable, but uncompromising riffs and melodies and obviously also his dark, obscure vocals was essential. He was the one, who did the only materials of Dark Funeral, which I have in my collection and which I like. After his departure Dark Funeral was never as good and I just quickly lost my interest in this band. He also did some of the best Necrophobic releases, especially that insanely amazing debut LP “The Nocturnal Silence”. But when he left both bands and formed Infernal I was quite disappointed first, but that was until I’ve listened to “Infernal” MLP and have been totally blown away by the sheer intensity, blasting fury and energy, by all that fantastic aggression and the atmosphere, which this MLP delivers. It still belongs to one of my favourite black metal vinyls, which I have in the collection. But I was so disappointed that Infernal was silent for many years. I mean the announcement of the full length album was many years ago, if I remember, then they released the “Summon Forth the Beast” MLP, which is nowhere to find and nothing else hapened. Finally “The Infernal Return” was released, but it is just a 7”EP with basically two songs plus a short melodic passage. Honestly, for someone like me, who hungers for more music from David Parland, it is not enough!!!!!! But from the other hand I welcomed this release with a smile and quickly purchased a copy. It definitely is a great addition to my collection, but really I hope that it is an announcement of the album, which will hopefully be released one day. I still have hopes, even if the EP was already released over two years ago.

Right when I started to play “The Infernal Return” I was possessed by it, as the main theme in the short song “The Darkside Calls” is just classic Swedish death / black melody and could have easily been taken from either the early Necrophobic or Dark Funeral. And then “Of the Seven Gates” starts and that impression is even bigger! Really, this is fantastic track, maybe not as fast and totally uncompromising as the material on “Infernal” MLP, but it doesn’t mean it hasn’t got a necessary dose of aggression and fast, relentless blasting. It does, only it concentrates more on the melodic aspects of this sort of playing more, which isn’t bad at all and what definitely doesn’t rid the music off the aggression and ferocity. Arrghh, what’s more, I can say that this song really makes me feel like I travelled in time back to the times, when Parland was a member of Necrophobic and as the main composer did the materials for “Spawned by Evil” and “Darkside”. It sounds just incredibly great and I can say that it is yet another proof that the talent of David has been missed for such a long time and also almost wasted, because he hasn’t done an album since such a long time. Side B of the EP has a song titled “Godforsaken (With Hate I Burn)” and this one sounds so close to Dissection’s early outputs that one can make a mistake and think that it is a lost Dissection song. Partly it may be due to the fact that it is even more melodic than “Of the Seven Gates” and it is also slower, without any blasting at all. It is less dynamic and it also ends quite abruptly, making an impression like it wasn’t finished, but if I can say that I like “Of the Seven Gates” more it doesn’t mean that “Godforsaken (With Hate I Burn)” is not good at all. It is also very good, solid song, only not as good as the previous one.

All in all, the whole EP leaves two impressions: one is great satisfaction from hearing some new songs from David Parland and two is lust for more, a hunger, which is difficult to resist and which for now I’ll have satisfy by playing “Infernal” MLP and “The Infernal Return”. I do hope that finally Mr Blackmoon will wake up from his slumber and crush the world with his music. I’m fucking waiting!

Well, Are You?! - 92%

Kristenhat666, June 27th, 2010

It does not matter whether you're one of those who, like me, were already into the Swedish Black/Death Metal scene back in the early to mid-90s, or just someone who can appreciate those years and the quality they offered at their just value. One can hardly fail to notice the huge influence David "Blackmoon" Parland had on those crucial years of Swedish Metal history. Be it the fact he composed the three quarters (if not more) of the music on Necrophobic's incredible „ The Nocturnal Silence " album, or the fact he did the same on the first 2 releases by Dark Funeral ( make no mistake, Ahriman did not write many riffs there!), everything goes to show what talent and skill David has as a musician. No wonder the former band has been struggling to keep their music at least partly as good as it was when Parland was still there, with a fair amount of success I might add, while the latter turned into a laughing matter after his departure! At the start of this century, everyone thought that David's latest band, INFERNAL, was doomed to vanish as he got older and disappeared from public attention, apparently no longer interested in playing music. Well, guess what - they were all wrong!

In 2010, a tiny South American label going by the name of Goathorned Productions, located in Cali, Columbia, released David Parland’s newest effort with INFERNAL, adequately entitled „The Infernal Return“. Despite being a serious label with a professional attitude, they have so far been unable to ensure any acceptable worldwide distribution for this new 7“ EP, which I must say is a tragedy, because if you miss the Swedish Death/Black scene I described in the previous paragraph, then this EP is just what you are looking for!

„The Infernal Return“ is quite short unfortunately, with only a short intro and 2 full songs, yet it is worth every penny you may spend on it. Sounds nonsensical? Perhaps, if you care mainly about quantity instead of quality. This is hardly my case, and let me tell you what’s to be smitten by on this 7“.

The intro itself, bearing the title „The Darkside Calls“, is pure and simple Parland magic as heard back in 1993 on „The Nocturnal Silence“. The same riffing, the same dark atmosphere and the same hypnotic effect! Simply outstanding! Straight away, „Of the Seven Gates“ begins with a typical INFERNAL riff, in the vein of what the band has always played, yet this is not even close to being everything it has to offer. Soon, a mixture of old Necrophobic and even Dark Funeral kicks in, and it’s very difficult to decide which of the 2 bands the music is more reminiscent of. What is certainly worth pointing out is the constant tempo changes, which are done extremely well thanks to David’s undeniably superior musicianship and the surprinsingly good drumming job by Asklund, who has really outdone himself. Since he has never played the drums as well as this, I can only suppose Parland himself gave him the necessary directions and pointers to achieve this. It is totally obvious that the song was recorded based on a well–defined structural concept, and is not just a random recording of riffs played chronologically. Some bands out there cannot compose decent riffs, others have the necessary inspiration but cannot join those together smoothly, but David Parland excels at both these crucial abilities! If all of this has not yet convinced you that the opening composition is a remarkable one, allow me to say that the solos one gets to hear when listening to this track (particularly the second lead solo) appear to have been drawn straight from the first Necrophobic full-length,– it is as if time had stood still for 17 years and the quality of the old days had been revived. And I do think it has. To end the EP, the final track, „Godforsaken (With Hate I Burn)“, is a hail to Parland’s older musical influences, and though quite repetitive, still succeeds in upholding the listener’s interest, especially by surprising us with some truly unexpected shifts and tunes. There is frankly nothing to bore or disappoint anyone here, quite the contrary, provided that they know what to expect from Parland musicwise.

It pains me to say that getting one’s hands on this great EP is an upstream struggle right now. Goathorned ’s myspace page seems to be almost the only website offering „The Infernal Return“ for sale, and I am not aware of any European labels at the moment which have it in their mailorder. Even googling the title brings hardly any results. If one wants to get this 7“, hunting high and low is the only option for the time being. Will this ever change? Hopefully so, but even if it does not, you won’t regret the time nor the energy spent on trying to obtain it. Not if you’re tasteful enough! Well, are you?!

The Infernal Return - 89%

Noctir, May 6th, 2010

Eight years have passed since the Metal world has heard from David "Blackmoon" Parland or the band Infernal. Line-up problems caused the band to go on an indefinite hiatus, following the release of Summon Forth the Beast. By late 2008/early 2009, the inspiration to create was awakened and Infernal rose from its crypt. Former Necrophobic member Martin Halfdan was recruited, as well as ex-Dissection/Infernal/Dark Funeral drummer Tomas Asklund. Line-up problems, again, hindered the progress of this recording, but a new drummer was soon found and the songs were re-recorded for a proposed 7" E.P. released by Goathorned Productions. Despite the setbacks, Infernal pushed forward and The Infernal Return was released in May 2010.

It begins with a brief intro, "The Darkside Calls". From the very first moments, Parland's trademark guitar style is easily recognized, as the cold nocturnal riffs slowly rise from the depths of the abyss, like a fog over the darkened land.

The next song is "Of the Seven Gates", which begins with the blasting drums and freezing cold tremolo riffs that one would expect from the mastermind behind the early albums from Necrophobic and Dark Funeral. However, as the song progresses, there's an added dimension as there are also some vicious Thrash. David's vocals contrast with those of Themgoroth, from the first Infernal E.P. His style is deeper and more powerful, giving the song an old school Death Metal feeling. Later on, there's a great guitar solo that is as impressive as it was unexpected. It is definitely a nice touch and helps bring the song to life. The speed then picks up and yet another solo is unleashed. This one song really displays a decent amount of range, being quite dynamic and haunting at the same time.

"Godforsaken (With Hate I Burn)" is the final song, beginning with a mid-paced riff and featuring a brief yet epic solo, early on. Lyrically, this one conveys a dark feeling of solitude and doom. This track is fairly straight-forward and a bit less dynamic than the previous one, yet no less memorable.

The Infernal Return gives a decent overview of Parland's musical past, with an added sense of maturity. The only real complaint with this E.P. would have to be that it clocks in under ten minutes. With any luck, this will only be a small taste of what is to come. It's limited to 500 copies, so I'd recommend for you to get this as soon as possible.