INFESTED ANGEL – Submit to Death (2022)REVIEW

Aiming for a ‘wall of sound’ brutality to start and likely talked off that ledge since Birmingham, England-based blackened death metal trio Infested Angel are nonetheless an imposing hammer of sound here on their second EP, culling the dull thud of their first release for the sake of glossier, more infernal depth of tone. This second self-released record from the band since forming in 2019, ‘Submit to Death‘ secures a most readable, dare I say tonally fixating sense of self for the group best parlaying the elite taste informing their style by way of strong sound design. This sort of music is meticulous work in most cases and that is to suggest they’ve got some excess to cut and elaboration to figure beyond the present but also that this is the right sort of release to strongly suggest their rapidly generating worthiness.

Although Sean Lowe/Prism Studios did fine work engineering Infested Angel’s debut EP (‘Nourish Me, Satan‘, 2021) it’d found the band at a crossroads, or, a trade-off between brutal clobber and more adventurous rhythm guitar texture-driven statements, leaving a blunted instrument of blown bass levels and drums the size of trucks. With this second EP and its pass-thru between the well-proven pairing of Greg Chandler (Priory Recording Studios) and Dan Lowndes (Resonance Sound Studio) it seems the rhythmic sorcery of that first EP has won over and ‘Submit to Death‘ greatly inspires further listening for the sake of both the band and their renderers/engineers knowing where the voice of this release is best set. In short, this EP has a brilliant alchemical weight to its movement which far surpasses their first recording.

With this textural sort of reap in mind it’d be easy to see a bit of Grave Miasma-esque blustering and perhaps even a shade of Aeternus‘ post-millennium blackened death metal affect in this riffcraft, wherein the harder-stomped riffs are typically met with blurring chords left ringing or blackened melodic shapes. Fans of Molested and (earlier) Infinitum Obscure will understand this riff language well before opener “Harmony of Drought” has finished its major statement but the band have a bit more black metal phrasing in mind on the way. The pinched harmonics and moshable chunking of of “Tempt the Unlife” color their groove-stricken riffcraft with a shade of ‘Onward to Golgotha‘-esque voicing to start but Infested Angel as a whole have progressed, as I see it, largely in terms of their melodic rhythmic shaping on ‘Submit to Death‘ and we see a glimmer of this nearby the last minute of said song. We find the real winner here a step beyond the ‘Covenant‘-esque snap and groove of “Denaturate” as they develop a sort of melodic black metal voicing in between their larger sulking movements. Thus far the EP has quite a strong amount of focus and presence in mind.

As “Eden” introduces itself with, eh, a voiceover worthy of a bad port of Warcraft III the song itself gives us a bit of their snappier Carcass-esque heavy metal side with a satisfyingly elastic riff and its eventual loosening into grinding and blackened blustering movement as its greater tornado lands. The two worlds experienced on the EP, perhaps new and old ideas finding various points of footing, haven’t entirely merged ’til we land upon the most successful track here for my own taste “Torture Condemnation”. Though it is a bit of a chugger in its transitional moments the elements of thrash/heavy metal used as propellant for their grand-sized black-thickened death noise really sings best here. If Infested Angel‘d cut the intros, the voiceover, and achieve the complex dynamic of “Torture Condemnation” in droves I’d be flipping my shit over ’em, at present I’ll say I see a huge amount of promise in where they’re headed, as long as it isn’t in the direction of commercial mosh metal. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Submit to Death
RELEASE DATE:March 23rd, 2022

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