Infesticide – Envenoming Wounds Review

Reviews of death metal bands from Mexico normally start with a phrase which says, literally or in effect, “when you think of death metal hotbeds, you don’t think of Mexico!” This is a trite observation, but much like discussing the weather it gets the conversational ball rolling. That Mexican death metal hasn’t developed a readily definable sound can be an advantage, as there’s no expectation evoked when the phrase “Mexican death metal” is used as there is with “Swedish death metal” or “Finnish death-doom.” A peculiar geographical logic would suggest that Texas death metal, Floridian death metal, and South American extreme metal generally would come to define the sound of Mexican death metal.

Infesticide happens to hail from Mexico, and this peculiar geographic logic largely works by Meat Loaf standards: two out of three ain’t bad. Envenoming Wounds plays death metal reminiscent of old Morbid Angel – think Abominations of Desolation and Altars of Madness – with the speedy, aggressive trappings of South American metal that a band like Perversor represents today. The later salient experimentation, stylistic weirdness, and weird, arcane atmospheres Azagthoth would conjure up are largely ignored in favor of an aural barrage. I also hear some commonalities with their countrymen in Remains, which is never a bad thing because Evoking Darkness is a record more people ought to hear. But back to the record in question.

If you’ve ever liked death metal from the late 80s, it’s hard not to enjoy “Magma Blood.” There are Morbid Angel riffs aplenty, and the vocals recall David Vincent on Altars in both phrasing and timbre. The influence of the faster stuff from South America gives it a different sound than Altars, with the more prevalent tremolo edging things in a more bestial or warlike direction. The callback to the unforgettable pre-verse riff in “Maze of Torment” (“ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…”) in “Phosphovore” is a nice tribute to classic death metal. Throughout Envenoming Wounds the lead guitar plays in a loose and creative manner akin to Trey Azagthoth, wildly flailing around the riffs to create a warped atmosphere that serves the songs well and adds that dash of personality that more technical playing often lacks. The leads help Infesticide stand out and are one of my favorite elements of the record. That songs aren’t organized around a choreographed guitar solo bit means the leads are allowed to suddenly enter and depart at their pleasure, creating a welcome disorientation of sorts. I like moments in death metal that seem organic and unscripted, and throwing quick lead guitar outbursts around gives the material a chaotic sound that sits well with the South American influence on display.

The standout lead playing makes the listener want more, but one must be careful what they wish for; like a Twisted Metal ending, Envenoming Wounds closes out with way too much lead work via a literal guitar solo that goes full Morbid Angel circa Heretic. “Ageless Storms” is basically “Born Again” if Kerry King were to have done it, and it’s a bold statement – but for three-and-one-quarter minutes it’s gratuitous and closes the album on a perplexing and underwhelming note. The riffs in “Fathomless Steel” are mostly serviceable, leaving little lasting impression after they conclude. These and all the other riffs are framed well by a tight and dynamic production that allows Infesticide’s talents to be heard clearly. If I’m to nitpick, the drums sound a bit odd if not plasticine (as said above, this reminds me of Evoking Darkness) but, like Pete Sandoval’s work in Morbid Angel, they have a certain charm about them which I can’t help but enjoy.

Envenoming Wounds is one of those records where I have little to gripe about, enjoy as an experience, and yet am content with regarding it as a merely good record. Infesticide has huge potential, and if they can write the legendary riffs and songs which catapulted their forbears into death metal’s pantheon, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. What I enjoy most about Envenoming Wounds is its old-school stylings which still sound fresh. Infesticide aren’t trying to do weird death metal or anything “progressive” (whatever that means today), but instead want to put themselves within a set of stylistic boundaries and get creative within them. Envenoming Wounds is a refreshing drop in the old-school pond, and while I may like the record more for what it represents than what it is, it still comes recommended for those looking for good ol’ death metal.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Blood Harvest Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: September 25th, 2020

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