INFESTICIDE – Envenoming Wounds (2020)REVIEW

Poisoning the future with the ancient ways, Infesticide is an old school death/thrash metal band from Mexico City, Mexico who play a straightforward brand of energetic (early) Morbid Angel influenced (see: ‘Abominations of Desolation‘) thrashing riff-centric madness that sacrifices an inch of technicality for the sake of speed and brutality. As such, their sound is representative of bands that’d combine the riff-salad days of late 80’s thrash metal and the emergent (yet still rarified) lighting strokes of brutal drumming coming from the darkest pockets of the Earth at the time. Their career thus far represents a natural progression from thrash to late 80’s death metal style and that shift is at the heart of Infesticide‘s corruption.

Born as a young thrash metal band under the name Inherited who’d release two demos (see: ‘Predatory Menace‘, 2012) before flipping their switch over to the darkside and changing their name you could tell these guys were headed for death metal via Demolition Hammer covers and a high speed attack. The switch was made circa mid-2013 and from that point the third chair was filled by a few different drummers leading to a different feel for their first EP (‘Skills to Eviscerate‘, 2014) and a solid third member (Indra) for their first full-length (‘Death’s Formulas Fatal‘, 2016). That first record did a fine job of representing where Infesticide were at the time but it was yet an ultra-underground release, unrefined and vaulted along by pure attack alone. This second album, ‘Envenoming Wounds’ is presented with all of the lessons learned via side-project In Obscurity Revealed and without messy drum shortcuts this time around. They’re still well-represented by a roughshod and raw sort of death-thrashing attack but this time around they’ve put in the work for a professional but still wild-haired event.

‘Envenoming Wounds’ swings into its first barrage of riffs and indulges in about four quick changes before it settles into a groove and relates the central progression. This style is more or less in keeping with classic death/thrash metal outliers, such as Dead Head‘s killer ‘The Feast Begins at Dawn’ at its fastest or, another perspective might look to classic late 80’s Mexican death metal standards starting with Transmetal and Mortuary‘s ’89 demo. All of this starts to feel a bit slow in retrospect and I’d rather punch over to Revenant, Sadism, Mortem (Peru) and a present day band like Infernal Conjuration for a sense of speed if not necessarily sound. The thrash-bound ‘Altars of Madness’ influence is there but cranked to a level of abandon that is inherently barbaric and obssessed with speed over finesse. The lightbulb should’ve gone off by now, Degial (specifically ‘Death’s Striking Wings‘) is more or less the right place to point in reference to Infesticide. Now that you’re cranked with enthusiasm for what a shot in the arm this album could potentially be, let me scale back a bit in the sense that this isn’t a thoughtful or precise record, just a ruthless slaughterer that doesn’t give two shits about being musical.

The rhythm guitar tone and production sound generally emphasizes midrange quite a bit giving a distinctly crisped second tier brutal thrash metal sound that becomes characteristically jumbled and gymnastic at high speeds. This provides a satisfying sensation of chaos when they rush into frantic leads and tremolo riffs that climb ever higher on the neck but it doesn’t lead to any astonishing depth or particularly catchy moments. It won’t satisfy on the same level as say, Superstition‘s debut but I figure it will hit the die-hard death/thrasher fandom (myself included) quite hard with its enthusiasm. ~29 minutes of riff mash-ups and blast-hammered raw thrashers at max speed could potentially be taxing yet Infesticide know when to shut up and riff, this leads to some of their strongest moments where years of ‘Altars of Madness’ inspired abrupt riff changes actually grace the experience with a surreal and suffocating riff-obssessed sound that is hard to pull out of. Shit’s a cyclone of energy that makes its case beyond a few spins and tends to be an obtuse pleasure to return to. Veiled praise on my part? Not at all, this is the stuff I was brought up on and what still sustains me today, it just isn’t any better or worse than the piles of classics I keep on a shelf nearby.

It wouldn’t make sense for me to dig into any particular tracks here though I do think “Stalwart, Poisonous and Burned” and frankly most of Side B offers the most inspired and riff intensive pieces on the full listen. Where I will complain a bit is with the outro instrumental “Ageless Storms”, basically a single guitar shredding out random runs. It just sounds like me sitting in my garage when I was sixteen trying to recreate the ‘Love of Lava’ bonus CD, pure cat- scratching and wailing. It was charming the first few listens but after about the tenth full listen I clipped it off the running order. Not a huge detractor just I probably wouldn’t buy a vinyl that ended like that. A short and ultra-effective shot of energetic death/thrash metal and a putrid underground stomp all the way through, a moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (78/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Envenoming Wounds
LABEL(S):Blood Harvest Records
RELEASE DATE:September 25th, 2020
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Death Metal,
Death/Thrash Metal

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