Ingested – Where Only Gods May Tread Review

The residents of Northern England, I understand, are miserable sods: helots to the belching textile mills who dream of the palatial accommodations of a hole in the ground from the squalor of a shoebox in the middle of the road. At least that’s what El Cuervo tells me. Or what I think he told me – I might be getting it mixed up with a Monty Python sketch. In the interest of fairness, I reached out to our very own Mancunian, Ferrous Beuller, who tersely refused to “engage with such slander” when asked for a comment. His only request was that Where Only Gods May Tread be fairly and justly reviewed as an example of the art of the proud and admirable people of the North.

I realize it’s poor form to begin an album review with tenuously related inflammatory remarks, but I do so only to fill space. The truth is that after many listens I can think of almost nothing to say about Where Only Gods May Tread. Even for Ingested, a band who regularly squeak by more on style than substance, this album is particularly barren. The Manchester quartet’s1 style focuses on groove and pit riffs, whether they come as breakdowns, slams, or often, something in between. You won’t be blown away by their virtuoso performances or brainy lyrics, but your speakers will suffer some such fate if they play an Ingested record at full blast. In fact, most of the love or hate for Ingested comes down to their production; extremely loud drum samples, very polished presentation, and a ton of vocal layering.

That Ingested formula has never done much but annoy me, but 2018’s The Level Above Human proved that the band could at least manage some memorable songs, and that’s what I had hoped for in Where Only Gods May Tread. But no “Last Rites” graces the record, nor even a song as good as The Level Above Human’s opener, “The Sovereign.” In fifty minutes Ingested manage to squeeze in about thirty memorable seconds, and those all come from the guest spot in “Another Breath.” Sadly, my use of ‘memorable’ here is not in commendation. The chorus that Crowbar’s Kirk Windstein moans out is unbearably cheesy and mars a song that would have otherwise been the album’s best.

To their credit, Ingested have enough ambition to close out Gods with the longest song they’ve ever put to tape. “Leap of the Faithless” happens over the last nine minutes of the record, and the band pull out every trick they can think of to fill them. Unfortunately, the most interesting thing they can conceive of doing is pick some strings on the clean channel and pipe them through a bunch of reverb. Even the solo in “Leap of the Faithless” is boring. In fact, it’s downright embarrassing; why even play a solo if it’s this lethargic and unimpressive?

There’s just nothing going on in this record. The songs are merely clumps of Ingested’s favorite tropes thrown together without much care, and quite frankly, anyone who wants to hear that can find it in the band’s other four records. Where Only Gods May Tread is a fully digested and egested version of the Ingested style, with a consistency that would be admirable in the usual product of such processes. But an album should aspire to more than being solid and coming out smoothly, and it’s unclear what, if anything, this rehash aspires to. Suffice it to say that you need not follow where Ingested lead, and in fact I would recommend against entrance by even the divine.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Unique Leader Records
Releases Worldwide: August 14th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. A quintet before the recent departure of bassist Brad Fuller.
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