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Rest in Peace > Inner Scream > Reviews
Rest in Peace - Inner Scream

No Rest for the Wicked, Screaming Lunatic - 92%

bayern, December 21st, 2016

Coroner’s and Celtic Frost’s reputation are more than enough for one to continue searching for buried gems around the Swiss underground, hoping to discover more acts in the same creative, highly original vein as those two. Well, similar auteurs are really hard to find, but some arduous, painstaking quest may eventually result in success adding another two names to the technical/progressive thrash list: Calhoun Conquer and Lunacy. Of course, we have the two-album-wonder Apocalypse and the death/thrash metal stalwarts Messiah who had “flirted” with the technical here and there, but the full-fledged practitioners of the progressive side of the genre are not many at all on Swiss ground, especially from a thrash metal point-of-view.

Rest in Peace’s line-up comprises two former members of Lunacy, one of them, the singer Chris Walder, having taken part in the spawning stages of that band’s career (the demos); the other one, also Chris (Dorner), having played the guitars on the “Grey Silence” EP (1997). So those two namesakes, albeit coming from very different Lunatic time periods, join forces here to challenge their former comrades and other powers of the day. At the time when the first demo appeared it was only Chris Dorner who was in the band, and his guitar audacity must have impressed the bigger act who later gave him a chance to perform on a bigger stage, albeit for a very short while. The other Chris, Walder, appeared for the demo reviewed here and graced with his vocal talents one of the finest moments from the Swiss progressive metal scene.

If we have to compare the music here to any of the two mentioned pillars of the style, Rest in Peace’s approach sounds a lot closer to Coroner than to Lunacy. Each of the four compositions is a well thought-out piece of complex, elaborate speed/thrash metal which also comes with plenty of atmosphere and frequent time and tempo-shifts. It is almost the furthest possible reference to the other band’s trippy, surreal take on the good old thrash/crossover. On the other hand, the clockwork precision of Coroner’s riff-patterns is not that well covered, either; it’s the dramatic build-up and the serpentine song-structures which recall the maestros, “No More Color”, above all, although the execution here is more optimistic and brighter.

Starts “Raped Nature” with stomping imposing riffage, but this officiant “idyll” doesn’t last very long being replaced by ripping dramatic sections over which rules the excellent dramatic clean vocals: the man is a real talent behind the mike recalling Leszek Spiegel (Scanner, Mekong Delta); it’s a real mystery why the Lunacy guys didn’t keep him for more spells and let him go; his versatile emotional performance the best possible companion to the music on display. This same composition continues “raping nature” with a portion of pounding technical riffs the latter superseded by blazing melodic leads. At this stage the fan may also notice similarity in the riff-formulas with some German speed metal acts like Angel Dust and Scanner; there is this epic flavour and somewhat operatic arrangements which bind the band’s style with the speed metal movement. The title-track carries on in the same vein piling heavy dramatic rhythms which alternate with more flexible technical sections and galvanizing galloping sweeps; more aggressive sinister thrashing arrives as a finishing touch. Diverse, elaborate musicianship at its most eventful best so far…

“Melancholy” logically begins with a romantic balladic intro as if to justify its title, but expect no mercy later on as the band inaugurate a brilliant amalgam of jumpy, overlapping riffs before the speedy crescendos enter in their turn to be superseded by another quiet interlude which is graced by great melodic leads; the melodic motifs carry on in the second half “duelling” with the hard thrashy sections this exciting symbiosis also assisted by a very cool catchy chorus. “H.E.L.L.”, an all-instrumental cut, introduces a lengthy optimistic lead-driven passage the latter seamlessly flowing into a pile of technical thrashing riffs, the guys shredding with passion the entire time leaving room for more melodic “excursions” near the end.

Four grandiose numbers stretching for nearly half an hour… that’s something to behold and listen to. Progressive, technical, speedy and thrashy, the band’s style had a fairly wide appeal and combined with a pretty decent sound quality it could have made quite a few heads turn if released some 3-4 years earlier, as an immediate follow-up to the debut demo. It comes with a unique atmospheric flair which, paired with the fast-paced sweeps, creates a really compelling blend: imagine Coroner’s “No More Color” mixed with Angel Dust’s “To Dust You Will Decay”, with Sieges Even’s “Life Cycle” nodding in approval on the side, casually throwing in a few strokes into the “furnace”. There was something epic again in the build-up which served well the more intense speed/thrashy moments, an enhancer later used by other fast-playing progressive metal outfits like Manticora, Hellfire, Dark Empire, Dark Arena, etc.

It was a fairly individual approach at the time, well co-ordinated with what was going on around the European metal underground, more particularly in Germany where a healthy technical/progressive thrash metal movement had commenced. Traces of this work can be found on some of the works from that movement, actually, like on the more speed metal-oriented Entophyte’s “End of Society’s Sanity” (released the same year), and Flaming Anger’s “Biosphere II” (1997). Well, so much for classic metal-prone dexterity during the dark groovy ages; there was no way for the guys to be able to translate their flamboyant delivery to the much more simplistic, stripped-down to the basics demands of the 90’s without turning themselves into clowns. Chris Dorner graced Lunacy’s last good, also last classic, effort a few years later, before that band’s career went downhill accepting the modern post-thrashy modifications. The others have been “resting in peace” all these years although one never knows when their lunatic impulses will urge them to start “screaming” again the potential havoc unleashed by all means accompanied by flashes of musical brilliance.