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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?!