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Repeated brilliance: Not an easy task - 94%

stefan86, September 7th, 2012

Infinitum's debut "Behold Eradication" is a hidden gem that I've considered one of my favorite death metal albums for quite some time. In many ways the band is Suffocation with an added dose of intelligence. They preserve the brutality of the mutes and stops of an album like "Pierced From Within" while adding layer of melody and smart songwriting beyond the back alley beating that is the sound scape of their main influence. It's just something beyond the ordinary in terms of combining different aspects of the genre.

To write a follow up worthy of the predecessor is definitely a challenge in this case, especially considering the legendary second album curse. The cynic in me kept imagining them dropping the ball, something that made me even more pleasantly surprised when "The Sixth Extinction" arrived. Another thing to factor in is my new found aversion toward most technical and brutal death metal. The explosion of similar sounding bands mainly doing a theory exercise accompanied by constant blastbeats has gotten to the point where seeming extremity just blurs into white noise.

Infinitum, however, just tears down those walls. The album really oozes with power and dynamics, despite mostly utilizing familiar genre strategies. The main news are the moments of atmospheric depth presented by the clean guitar parts. It's an extra twist that fits very well with the rest of the music. In many it further moves it away from becoming a constant blastbeat fest. The album also sounds very professional in terms of production, a fact that should give Infinitum an even greater chance to reach their well deserved audience. "Behold Eradication" didn't quite have the sound quality to match the musical skill at hand, so I'm glad they took care of that part this time. The vocal performance has also improved, as the growls are deeper and more audible than before. While I'm certain that the vocalist will always play a back seat role to the brilliant guitars in this band, it's still nice to have a solid growl delivering the meaty hooks.

So how about some musical analysis? Opener "From The Cradle To A Plague" starts out with the mentioned clean guitar layers before gradually growing into a blasting death metal song. On its way to the brutal verses it travels through sections of quality gallop riffs and semi melodic tremolo sections that are all weaved together intricately and fluently. Nothing seems out of place no matter the extravagance. Their signature sound from the debut remains prominent, as the focus is a vortex of infectious riffs and musical twists. In many ways they've preserved exactly what made their first album so special: The technical riffs and seemingly crazy tempo changes flow together naturally, a task not many can achieve. It never relies on spitting out notes like a jammed cannon.

Overall, the tempo shifts and dynamics are what allows the songs to be so successful. Don't be fooled, there are many moments of blazing extremity. The trick is to make them feel extreme through use of dynamic shifts. By carefully utilizing slower muted riffs, semi melody and clean guitars the fast parts feel truly brutal. Stupid buzzword, I know. This time it's actually used in a proper context. As for variation between the songs, "Regurgitating The Core", "With Expansion Comes Expulsion" and "Vexing The Progenitor" displays their more savage side. "From The Cradle To A Plague", "The Great Dying" and "To His Undoing" however, have a lot of melody and atmospheric sections.

Album closer "To His Undoing" is truly a crowning achievement so far for this band. The melody layers never disturb the urgency of the death metal assault, and the song still almost winds up feeling epic and sorrowful. Imagine being able to combine that with savage riffing worthy of genre competitors like Blood Red Throne or Hour of Penance? In many ways the only proper reference point I can find is Immolation. I'm starting to feel that this review is getting out control and into blind worship territory, therefor I should simply stop. I'll say this though: Get your hands on this album, you won't regret it!

A Lethal CD - 90%

lordazmolozmodial, July 27th, 2012

Though I am not really into the Australian extreme metal scene, there are many precious metal releases this year that are screaming there, and some bands like "Ne Obliviscaris" and "Be'lakor" are giving us a lot of efforts this year that can prove the fact that Australia can export a lot of adorable extreme metal releases, and here is the technical death metal band "Infinitum" presenting us with another solid and rocky proof with their second full-length album, "The Sixth Extinction".

Infinitum had released the debut album, "Behold Eradication", in 2008 and since then I've been following their news to check the sound of their second full-length album. All of my expectations were really true and the new sound of the guitars and drums are completely breathtaking. The new production can crush skulls with its toughness and resistant rigidity and the sounds of the snare, the cymbal crashes, and the double bass drill my ears with their adorable performance and sound, especially when the double bass caves in the whole sound and covers all the spaces in the sound signals. The debut album, "Behold Eradication", was completely a promising release and I was fascinated about the performance of the lead guitars and the drumming then, and now after checking the new record, "The Sixth Extinction", I can consider this band as one of the most solid acts in Australia and one of the best technical death metal bands in the global metal scene nowadays.

This fierce record begins its barbarian journey with the track "From The Cradle To A Plague" and the track "Vexing The Progenitor". Every listener will give all of his attention to this record after hearing these tracks because the amount of sharp riffs and rapid drumming will create memorable and outstanding tracks here for all the death metal fans. The eerie riffing style of the track "Upheaval Of The Elements" and its melodies made this track one of my favorites here and proved that this album will be interesting from the first track until the ninth track. The continuous enjoyment was still raging when the track "With Expansion Comes Expulsion" was erupting out of the speakers as the vocals were digging a deep growling way into the immune wall of sound of the guitars, and this same feeling was also shining on the fifth track, "The Great Dying".

The compositions of the tracks are really interesting because they don't focus only on creating firm rhythm guitar sound like the other brutal death metal bands do, but also focuses on the atmosphere of the whole sound, obvious in the tracks "The Rise Of Man" and "Regurgitating The Core". The track "Chicxelub" kept on blowing out of my speakers as I was gazing upon the strange and alien creature of the artwork, his roots capturing the whole drawing as the melodies of this record capture my ears with strength and blast beating solidity. The track "To His Undoing" was a perfect way to end this record because this track somehow is different from all the other tracks. The dusky performance of the rhythm guitars and the sunken lead guitar lines walk upon the sound of the bass and the drums in a breathtaking way, and the solo of the song also was somehow different than the other solos, and using the clean guitar section also helped to connect the calm parts with the extreme parts like a bridge.

Finally, before listening to the cd I was thinking that this album will have exactly the same sound and performance of the debut album (maybe because I hated the artwork), but I was totally shocked by the great new performance and by the amazing brutal sound and the quality of the performance. If you are into the brutal death genre and if you are a fan of technical death metal bands, then I recommend this album to you, but if you're not a fan of the brutal/technical death metal genre, then this album can be a great introduction into this world of pounding riffs and extreme performance. Every single cd in your library will be butchered if you bring this record in, so get ready for the massacre and buy it now.

Originally written for:

The rise of death metal - 100%

Zenith_Apocalypse, May 6th, 2012

I remember it clearly, the thoughts that went through my mind when I listened to their first full- length, Behold Eradication, a very good album, yet of course it had its flaws being a debut, but the vast potential of the band shined through. I already knew it back then that their second album would be something truly great. It's been four years of waiting, but finally it's here.

As I expected, the production has improved greatly; the guitar tone is spot on, the bass guitar is audible and at times given a prominent part, the drums are a lot more clean, and all the instruments mix extremely well with the vocals. The songwriting is impeccable. It's so obvious that the members had a solid foundation to build upon, a fundamental idea of what they were trying to accomplish. Nothing is in there without a reason. Even the guitar solos contribute to the atmosphere as a whole. The shifting in tempo, the alternation between brutality and melodies, and especially the riff progression gives each track a strong identity. Yes, the riff progression is often forgotten by other bands in this genre, but here it really gives that final touch and special seasoning as it sews all the riffs (there are plenty) into a seamless continuity.

All the instruments are combined and dynamically creating not as a soundscape, but more of an entity. Well-handled, they all play their part and they never really separate, albeit a fast, slow, groovy, or melodic passage within a song. Vocals in this genre tend to be quite monotonous and generic, but I'm really in awe over how they manage to do it so well. They're varied between high pitch, low pitch, and even lower pitch, extending the dynamics, but the main feature is with the perfect timing that the lyrics are delivered. Unprecedented to this date.

Reading the lyrics, I'm pretty sure that I'm supposed to approach this as a concept album. It brilliantly tells the story about the birth of organisms, creatures, and man and how we all affect our planet. Well-written, dramatic, engaging, and with a thoughtful message. Applause!

I've listened to metal almost my entire life and in ten years back death metal has been my main passion in music. During this time span I've encountered bad as well as great records. I do have my favourites, but I've never heard perfection...until now. What is perfection? One could argue for hours, but to me the perfect album must be the one without flaws and The Sixth Extinction is cleansed from them. Everything just reaches that high level of musicianship; it's so creative and so uncommon to write nine songs that all stand out on their own and to finalize 42 minutes of music without a single note being misplaced or redundant.

I expected something truly great, but this is more...far more. It's the best composition of music I've ever heard, something extraordinary that has moved me deeply, a true masterpiece.

A rise of death metal.