Ensnared – Inimicus Generis Humani Review

Ensnared - Inimicus Generis Humani 01I don’t know how long my students will retain anything I teach them. I could write a hundred grants and never understand why any of them are rejected or accepted. I can run code forever without a clear idea of why it takes so long. That’s work. Some days I accomplish something meaningful, others I’m spinning my wheels, stuck performing simple tasks that might build towards something greater — or nothing at all. That’s part of why I write here. When I can’t write I fix bikes. I’ll drag some junker back from the salvage store and a month later somebody else is riding it to work. Sure, there are material benefits to this hobby; I make some beer money, I have some parts lying around for when my own commuters break down. But Craigslist ads and old man Metal Guy aren’t footing my rent bill. I do these things so that I can create something. I can see something through from start to finish, where I decide and care for and understand of every part of the final product.

That’s the same drive that produces art. I know you have it, too. You want to make something, even something inconsequential, for nothing except the pleasure of creation. There can be no reason for Inimicus Generis Humani to exist other than the need to create. And there should be no reason to listen to it except to enjoy what Ensnared have created.

What that is, is, of course, a very simple death metal album. Yet it is a satisfying death metal album. Inimicus Generis Humani is old-school without anachronism. Death metal how it used to be played, how it is played, how it will ever be played by those who love playing it. Warm, organic production renders it infinitely listenable. The lyrics are oddly decipherable, the solos pleasantly inscrutable. Three — would you believe — interlude tracks, “Interlude 1,” “Interlude 2,” and “Interlude 3,” split the album into nice little segments. The latter two are almost lounge tracks, accenting the album’s live feel. The whole affair is under-presented, made well not because of external pressure but from inherent skill. Even in the lengthy “Black Hole Acolytes,” the band doesn’t try anything particularly flashy, instead, stitching an interlude onto a more powerful track that shares its melody.

Inimicus Generis Humani doesn’t live on killer riffs or nastiness — in fact, it’s almost soothing at times. These are not the marks of a great death metal album or even a very memorable one. Yet Inimicus Generis Humani never feels superfluous or contrived. It is committed to nothing more than being a death metal album. Ensnared are not trying to one-up or outdo other bands. They’re not trying to be the next big thing. They have no grand ambition but to make death metal. And they’re good at it.

Ensnared - Inimicus Generis Humani 02

Do not mistake my praise — I am not exalting Ensnared for some pious modesty. What point would there be in subjugating their work to some supposed superior? Ensnared don’t care to prostrate or pedestal themselves. They speak well and don’t pretend to have anything novel or profound to say. How many of us do? How many of us can claim any superlative? Why should we need to?

I’m not going to pull a White Wizzard and tell you this album is perfect because it’s fun and there’s nothing wrong with it. It is fun. There is nothing wrong with it. There’s no spectacle or perfection here, just bare existence. That suffices. Why should it not? I hear in Inimicus Generis Humani our shared need for expression and creation, a need that is responsible for every great death metal album and missing in every phoned-in one. It’s human in a very bare and honest way, and beneath its foreboding satanism expresses a subtle joy in making something whole and making it well. I love it for that reason. Maybe you will too.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 11 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dark Descent Records / Invictus Productions
Website: facebook.com/ensnared
Releases Worldwide:
February 14th, 2020

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