Like many tragic biographies of great artists who were not recognized in their time, Finnish death metal pioneers Convulse released only two records during the brief initial run of their career: World Without God in 1991 and Reflections in 1994. In the intervening years, they have become recognized as an important and influential extreme metal force in the country. Now, nearly two decades after their last release, Convulse are finally making music again together. After re-connecting for some reunion shows in Finland in 2012, Convulse again entered the studio; the result was the two-track, old-school death metal EP Inner Evil.
Inner Evil sounds as if the intervening nineteen years simply did not happen. Had the two tracks that make up this album been marketing instead as two previously unreleased tracks, recorded at the same time Reflections was being done, I would have been completely unsurprised. The energy of the tracks is immediately arresting, as brash and angry as their early work. Part of this seamless connection to the rest of Convulse‘s discography is that the original lineup is primarily intact, featuring the original guitarist, vocalist and bassist; only drummer Rolle Markos is relatively new, but is as sharp and well-hewn as the rest of the band.
The first track, the titular “Inner Evil,” has a snarling, stomping meanness. The riffs, especially the solo work, swoop and soar, nimble and powerful as a fighter pilot pushing their jet to the limits of its engineering. “God is Delusion” is a but messier and meaner, occasionally dipping into a thrashy ferociousness that suits the atheistic rejection of the theme well. The riffs creep and lurch, so the songs alternate between a crawling menace and explosive violence.
Proudly, and somewhat defiantly, recorded without the use of assistance from triggers or Pro-Tools, Inner Evil as a very deliberately live-off-the-floor quality to it. The band are in phenomenal performing shape, with nary a hint of rust from their time apart.
With a full-length planned for later this year, as well as future live dates (including an appearance at Maryland Death Fest), it seems that Convulse have returned from their period of dormancy to find that the world is finally ready for them, and are well able to take advantage of the warm welcome their reunion has received.