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An Infernal Sea of Cryptic Black Metal - 70%

Zerberus, November 27th, 2013

Some may argue that black metal has never had much of a hold in the UK, apart from a few well-known black metal influenced bands like Cradle of Filth, Bal-Sagoth and Anaal Nathrakh. In recent years though, a large number of worthwhile acts within the genre have emerged from the British scene, a few of which I have previously reviewed. Bands like Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone and Fen have garnered many a positive review, and the tendency in the scene leans heavily on the atmospheric and pagan kind.

Though The Infernal Sea belong to this new wave of british black metal their style is far removed from the folky, celtic or pagan tendencies and atmospheric moods of their brethren, relying more heavily on a crusty, chaotic and gritty mode of musical expression. Their second release, "The Crypt Sessions" EP from 2013, takes - like their music - a rather unorthodox approach to the structure of a release, with every actual track being preceeded by a sort of introduction track. The way British quartet breaks with the norms of how to build up an EP makes it a more interesting listening experience, being thoroughly underlined by the pulsating abrasive nature of their riffs and the hoarse screams of the lead singer.

The crustier elements brings to mind some recent efforts by Darkthrone - barring The Underground Resistance - but it is far from the same prevailing quality as it was with those Darkthrone albums. On The Crypt Sessions it's a much more subtle influence, accentuating the indigenous coarse aspects of black metal.

There is something cathartic about the psychosis-like rambling structures of the blasting, chaotic parts of The Infernal Sea's music. At times they can go from completely unhinged anarchic torrents to pieces of a more composed disposition. These variations serves as means to release the tensiouns created by the British group, and mostly it works. But at times these shifts in temperament can be a bit flow-breaking and anti beneficial to the wholesomeness of the release, and I feel that it is only in Skinwalker that these changes work ideally.

The Crypt Sessions seems at the same time both highly experimental and like a tribute to the traditions of the genre. It is this ambiguosity that, along with the unusual flow, makes it tempting to start it all over when the EP is done playing.

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