A one-man black metal army of darkness – yes, like you I’m already cringing at the thought of spending a week or, God forbid, longer being tormented by fuzzed-out direction-less blackened murk!
Somewhere in the midst of releasing their range of splits, EPs and their full-length (Worshipping Times of Old), German band Infestus switched from being a force of three to being the sole project of Andras (Systematic Soul Deadening and ex-Dunkelfront). Despite the stigma attached to one-man projects of this sort, Andras rose from abysmal depths and went on to release Ex/Ist, which to my chagrin I missed, and I now know to be packed to the hilt with dank depression perfect for a little Shining-flavoured bloodletting. The Reflecting Void continues the harrowing journey Andras began in Ex/Ist, building on with a heavy light vs dark contrast between the black metal roots of his past and a post-metal undercurrent that harkens to a blend of Heretoir and Shining (Swedish) with a flash of Old Dead Tree‘s monologue.
“A Dying Dream” starts off slow and droning with a growing build-up. Before you know it you’re knee deep in the same feeling you had watching William Friedkin’s Bug. Your skin is crawling with what feels like millions of determined, angry bugs chomping at you, and the line between reality and delusion is very blurred. Much like Heretoir‘s style, Andras layers his instrumentation in such a way that on one level it mauls you with thick, heavy, forceful drums and a wall of angry guitars but on another he’s injecting bright, positive picking so much in contrast that it totally fucks with your mind.
Andras has a decently large voice that does well for Infestus. His whispers are menacing and horse and for an instant on “Origin” and “Constant Soul Corrosion” he brings to mind the kind of comforting familiarity of “The Bathroom Monologue” of Manuel Munoz (The Old Dead Tree). Outside of “Origin”, Andras showcases the rest of his spitting, seething anger and choking, corrosive screams best in a few of his lengthier tracks “Constant Soul Corrosion,” “Inner Reflexion” and “Devouring Darkness” and for the most part his style and over-the-topness hold a pleasing reminiscence of the purging power of Niklas Kvarforth across his mounting list of projects and collaborations (Shining, Skitliv, Gravdal, Bethlehem and and and).
Instrumentally it’s interesting to keep in mind that Andras put together the entirety of this album. His drum work is full of power, has a great tone and feels perfectly placed and “Constant Soul Corrosion” and “Fractal Rise Of The Fall” play around perfectly to catch your attention in this regard. His guitar work pulls in the crestfallen feel of Shining, teetering between inconsolable and dare I say cutting, while at the same time a track like “Inner Reflexion” stubbornly shows how Andras uses post-metal or shoegaze to fight the depressive bleakness.
Mastering of The Reflecting Void was left in the capable hands of V. Santura (Woodshed Studio) who’s worked with the likes of Dark Fortress and Triptykon and clearly knows to keep subtly in mind and to allow necessary breathing space. Andras handled the recording and mixing of the album, tracks flow perfectly on from one to the next with only very few well placed jarring intervals. “Spiegel der Seele,” “Constant Soul Corrosion,” “Constant Soul Corrosion” and “Cortical Spreading Darkness” offer changes that feel so damn natural you barely notice a shift’s even taken place. On one hand this is great, but when loaded with say tracks that exceed 7, 8 and 9 minutes in length this can make the album a daunting listen leaving you feeling overwhelmed and wondering where one idea ends and the next begins. It seems The Reflecting Void is a reflection of past successes married with new influence, making it a worthy declaration of war by this lone army. Onwards and upwards!