In our new monthly feature, which will show up here on the 15th of every month and run over the next few days, I (Angry Metal Guy) will select 5 bands at random (usually those who have followed my directions and have bandcamp accounts) to get blurbed by every member of the AMG staff. The idea is to do at least a bit of our part to point out that the metal underground is still an important part of the world of metal. While we simply don’t have the manpower to produce regular reviews of unsigned bands, this is my attempt at a minor mea culpa if nothing else. So enjoy Angry Metal Guy’s Unsigned Band Rodeo and our fourth entry for April 2013: Infested!
Hailing from Sweden, Infested used to be called Siphon the Mammon. After having switched their name, they re-released their EP Obliterate and made themselves essentially un-Googleable by any reasonable measure. Critique of the band’s PR strategy aside, they come with a modern take on something Swedes have long been elite at: death metal. These guys aren’t old school, though, they have groovy sensibilities and progressive song structures and most of all hooky riffs. Download the EP for €1 on Bandcamp and like ’em on Facebook.
Angry Metal Guy: One thing that I miss from the ’90s was when melodeath was heavy. Now it’s all Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum and Fakeum Latinum Namenum who just make whiny, slow, uninspiring—and most importantly—not very heavy stuff. Infested, a Swedish death metal band that looks like they probably were born in the ’90s from their promo pictures, seems to have figured out how to make that sweet, sweet blend of melodically interesting death metal that is also heavy. With tons of fantastic riffs and great feel (intro to “Hollow Mind,” for example), these guys knock out tune after tune of tough, heavy, hooky death metal. Despite giving nods to Bloodbath and Gojira in their bio, Infested actually remind me a lot more of the feel of bands like Vomitory or Demiurg which produce powerful, interesting death metal, with nasty as fuck riffs that never loses its edge. This is a great EP and worth the €1 they’re charging for it on Bandcamp. 4.0/5.0
Steel Druhm: Well, these Swedes take the cake (if they award cake at rodeos). With the most generic name possible, they still impress with an infectious blend of mega-riffy death and old school thrash. This monster is teeming with slashing, corkscrewing riffs and most of them are hooky as hell. They also do a nice job of blending genres. One minute they sound like Demonic-era Testament mixed with Trouble and the next they attack with vicious black metal riffs. They can do the br000tal thing like Vomitory or Severe Torture, but they spice it up with one impressive lead after another. I was impressed enough to overlook their occasional use of breakdowns, and that’s saying something. I hope they make a million bitcoins because they’re going to need an enormous legal team to sue all the other bands named Infested. 3.5/5.0
Madam X: Grave-robbers Infested follow the all too familiar, very well plundered path of the Swedish death metaller – a brave and bold move! [Wait, is that sarcasm!? – AMG] Their style is largely reminiscent of Grave but with the added undertones of Bloodbath brutality and a little Spawn of Possession technicality. Victor has an immense and impressively powerful, guttural vocal range, eerily close to that of Ola Lindgren (Grave), sadly other than a few references to a contagion I’m damned if I could follow the lyrics to the track. Instrumentally tracks like “Hollow Mind”, “The Construct of Plagues” and “”End of Time” (my favorite) are packed with punchy, destructive riffs and fueled by blistering rhythms layered with groovy, melodic solos that sound majestic against the backdrop of pure noise Alex and Niclas (guitars), Arvid (bass) and Jeppe (drums) have gone for. While this album won’t win any awards for innovation, it’s certainly got moments that kick ass and with repeated plays it’s worn its way into my blackened heart. 3.0/5.0.
Fisting Andrew Golota: Now THIS is intriguing. Death metal with super-hooky riffs, killer guitar playing, and a mix that doesn’t sound like shit. Yeah, there’s a breakdown or two, but generally this stuff is kickass, and somewhat technical without being douchebaggy. Recommended. 3.5/5.0
Happy Metal Guy: Thoroughly trying to make itself seem ferocious and hateful of everything in the flakkin’ multiverse, this band succeeds linguistically, visually and sonically. But the songs generally sound bland and feel draggy. 2.0/5.0
Natalie Zed: Opening with a long quote from landmark “fast zombie” film 28 Days Later, Infested make sure that the apocalyptic modus operandi of Obliterate is clear from before the first notes of “Contagion.” Soaked in horror imagery and drenched in blood, Infested push the horror theme as far as they can. Woven into the brutal riffing are screams of pain and terror, as well as the sounds of rending flesh and crunching bone as some unknown creature tears its victims apart. The riff structures are strong and the songs are deceptively catchy. “Construct of Plagues” is more frantic, almost panicked, the driving rhythms and imbalanced structure an apt metaphor for a society shaking itself apart. Album closer “End of Time” is the most bleak and moody, but also the weakest track, becoming a bit maudlin at the end of a record devoted to violence. Infested are at their best when celebrating carnage, and luckily there is a lot of that on Obliterate. 3.0/5.0
Alex Franquelli: ”And if the riffs are good, the rest doesn’t really count,” said the wise man holding a copy of Nevermind the Bollocks in his hands. Riffs, riffs and riffs again. Do they still matter? They don’t: modern music can do without them and will soon break its chains to bring us back to the joys of monotony and drones. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the music of Infested (previously known as Siphon the Mammon) and their debut album Obliterate. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: finding information on a specific metal band using “infested” and “obliterate” as keywords in Google is a hopeless task, but eventually your efforts will be rewarded with a cascade of influences ranging from The Haunted to Neaera and The Acacia Strain. Oh, and riffs. Lots of those bloody, goddamn riffs. 3.5/5.0