It is safe to say at this stage of the game that death metal is currently enjoying quite the renaissance. That’s not to say that the genre withered and died at any point, or that there weren’t quality acts to be found. On the contrary, since the genre’s inception there have always been acts you could set your blood-soaked watch by. But what can’t be ignored is the sheer quality and quantity of death metal acts that have come slithering out of various crevices over the last five or so years especially. When we look back on this genre’s ultimate resurgence and propulsion back to the top of the metal heap one band that will be included in all of the discussions about their place among the elite will be Inverloch.
Being one of the bands that helped to pioneer the death-doom sub-genre, Australia’s Disembowelment have garnered a well-earned cult status. Featuring half of the Disembowelment line-up, Inverloch picked up right where the carcass of Disembowelment lay rotting in the sun. Melding furious waves of blasting madness with dense and cryptic atmospheric passages, Inverloch have not only picked up the death-doom torch but with this album they’ve unceremoniously snuffed out the competition’s proverbial torches in the process. To say this debut full-length album, Distance│Collapsed, is a masterwork would not be overstating it.
Rarely will you find an album steeped in such opposite ends of the metal gene pool, yet fused together like carnival freaks you simply can’t turn away from. Death-doom acts, from their very nature, always walk a tightrope of musical acrobatics. One slip and the whole proposition collapses to the ground, dead on impact. Yet when done right, there are few sub-genres in the metal world that can hit all the right sonic G-spots. For Inverloch it almost seems too easy. The track “From the Eventide Pool” is an elegant yet stark example, as a lone clean guitar solemnly floats notes like a bird looking for one last resting place before the world comes crashing down in fire and fury – all the while crushing doom is radiating like molten lava slowly engulfing everything in its path. It’s both gorgeous and unnerving. It’s also immediately followed up by the track “Lucid Delirium” which is the most old-school death metal Inverloch’s sound will achieve at any given point on this record. One part Swedish buzz saws and one part American sledgehammer to the face in its composition.
When they want to be aggressive they are a vicious beast of unknown origin on the attack, and when they want to be ethereal they breathe darkness into a world of light. Put it all together and they posses both the power and the wrath to snuff out the sun itself. At their best Inverloch lay down sprawling and stunning arrangements that seem to stop time and warp reality. This is less an album and more a completely authentic experience, one that is truly not to be missed.
Distance│Collapsed is due to hit the streets on March 4 via Relapse Records. In the interim you can listen to album opener, “Distance Collapsed (In Rubble)” at the Relapse Bandcamp page.