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Primitive Eastern Darkness - 80%

TheStormIRide, October 15th, 2018

Initially active from 1999 through 2011, Inferno Requiem reformed in 2015 and has been steadily unleashing new material ever since. The band’s sophomore album, 2017’s 女媧 (Nüwa), was a finely crafted, yet somewhat alien homage to Scandinavian black metal, that was a breath of fresh air in a style that’s become largely mediocre over the past few years. Not one to rest on his laurels, Inferno Requiem’s sole member Fog put together a compilation titled Primitive Outburst featuring freshly re-recorded tracks from the band’s first demo, a handful of songs from upcoming compilation appearances, a cover track, and a live song.

Though the bulk of Primitive Outburst is divided between three tracks originally recorded in 1999 and three originally recorded in 2018, there is not that large of a divide between both eras. It helps that Fog reworked and re-recorded the 1999 tracks, because they sound every bit as punishing and destructive as the fresh tracks. The result is six tracks that flow together more like an EP rather than a compilation of random tracks thrown together for the hell of it. Fiery, constantly weaving tremolo riffs and pummeling percussion that moves between a primordial stomp and reckless blasts. Fog’s vocals lie somewhere between howling despair and growling menace, leaning slightly either way to suit the music’s progression. The production, like the last full length, is pretty rough around the edges, yet the recording quality feels like a completely conscientious choice of aesthetics rather than blatant negligence at the mixing board.

While I would be hard pressed to call a compilation essential, Primitive Outburst is one of the better compilations I’ve come across recently. Like mentioned before, aside from the cover and live track, this plays more like a cohesive EP than a random collection of tracks. The live track has a decent recording quality and the cover of Satanic Warmaster’s “Strength and Honour” are both really cool bonuses to round out the release. The material presented here isn’t quite as alien as the previous full length, but it works well. The music is a touch more straightforward, but Fog’s riffing deftly progresses keeping things interesting throughout. I would suggest if this sounds interesting to dig into the band’s two full lengths first, but if you’re already a fan of the band by all means snatch this up before it’s gone.