INANNA – Void of Unending Depths (2022)REVIEW

Nosce te ipsum — On a wrathfully hurled journey of supernatural punishment, envisioned on a scale far beyond the usual earthly interventionist cataclysm, we achieve the celestial command of the eldest gods committed to memory in the wake of Santiago, Chile-based quartet Inanna‘s third burst of high-evolutionary death metal accelerant. Far-flung from the severed silver cord of modern man’s living sub-conscious, our nightmare existence cannot fathom the worlds beyond without some manner of superior guidance, at this time and in this mind palace their ‘Void of Unending Depths‘ is that acherontic hand. In this realm they’d create meaning directly commands action, here purpose beyond style and symbolism fuels great works as the riff never divagates from the intent of the soul’s river in its loftily meandering propulsion. A long-anticipated return, and without mercy.

Hallucinated into reality outside of time and realized in flesh at the dawn of the new millennium, Inanna‘s original intent by way of guitarist and main composer Diego Ilabaca was an ambitious and perhaps more serious vision of death metal’s evolution beyond 1990-1993, wherein bands like Morbid Angel and Atheist picked up books rather than bongs and pushed deeper into the musical value generated between highly technical instrumentation, progressive arrangements and impactful songwriting statements still rooted in the earliest pure evil spark of extreme metal (see: DeathHuman‘). Of course it took some time to generate global notice of their efforts, as most early demo material (‘Ascend From the Underworld‘, 2005) was stuck on the wishlists of fanatics outside of South America ’til much later, but anyone die-hard attuned to early technical/progressive death metal style wouldn’t have missed their debut full-length (‘Converging Ages‘, 2008) at the time. Though it was recently remixed/remastered and reissued there’d been nothing unsatisfactory about that first record from the band, already manifesting their trademark steady hand for technical classicism informing each piece and never, ever simply dicking around with technique for the sake of showmanship.

Though there were many bands around in this style in the late 2000’s who’d been trying to find a way to subvert the cold, faceless tech-death overbalance of the time Inanna were the fully organische alternative, the rough gem that would only appeal to the ‘old school’ death and thrash metal fanatic and this was proven with their masterpiece (‘Transfigured in a Thousand Delusions‘, 2012). Think along the lines of StarGazer‘s high-rate and beautifully ranted guitar voicing interlaced with prog-death bass wiles, The Chasm‘s similarly run-on riffcraft at it’s most ‘heavy metal’ peak, and we can likewise look to the progressive death-thrashing spirit of groups like Siderean and VoidCeremony today as general nowadays analogues. Of course I spent nearly a decade recommending that second album to anyone who’d listen and largely to deaf ears ’til vocalist/bassist Max Niera‘s other project Coffin Curse turned many heads with its riffs, the remaster of ‘Converging Ages‘ reintroduced the band to global internet hype wastrels, and a long-awaited announcement of a return for Innana had followed soon after.

With ‘Void of Unending Depths‘ the band have no doubt retained their signature vision. It is what I’d suggest as an intentional return to the core thesis of the band… not that they’d left or lost sight but that this record is differently aggressive and features less of the sleepier, dreamier sides of their sound explored on the first two albums. The reprisal of “Mind Surgery”, and incredible piece originally from their second demo, in the second half of the album helps to reinforce this holistic sense of a return in full, not so much picking up where they’d left off in 2012 but arriving with that same intent from a wisened point of view. It is the right way to return after a decade in wait, carrying a memento from the past which still works brilliantly alongside newer compositions. The cursory statement to make up front is that you’ll hear a bit more Mithras-esque sprawling (see: “Cabo de Hornos”, “Evolutionary Inversion”) within their most dramatic moments and a bit more Ross Dolan circa 1991 edge to the vocals with fewer rasping interjections, the best example of both traits dominating their attack being “Far Away in Other Spheres”. It’ll sound stupid on my part to suggest they’ve ‘cut right to the point‘ with this one whilst staring at the full hourlong run-time but, it’ll make sense once you are in the midst of it all that Inanna have returned with a greater sense of self than ever and aimed for the marrow of their craft.

A couple of key points make ‘Void of Unending Depths‘ a triumph beyond its obvious stylistic appeal and finely writ wrangling of uniquely stated death metal forms. The first is perhaps some deserved praise for second guitarist-turned-drummer Carlos Fuentes not only for his prime talent for the instrument (as evidenced on ‘Ceased to Be‘ as well) but also his work engineering and rendering the final product, as he had with the previous album, with a keen ear for ‘old school’ timbre without resorting to a too-modern or dry spatial resonance. The immediate sense of space generated never pulls the ear too far off in the distance from Innana‘s performances, avoiding compressed density while the instruments conjoin in their collective force without bleeding heavily upon one another; The second major point, or, observation to make is that these folks continue to thrive within their most elaborately constructed pieces. whereas some songs hit the six minute mark with a set of countless riffs and take the listener on a ride (“Among Subaqueous Spectres”, “The Key to Alpha Centauri”) others present full-bodied transport to Eldritch realms of madness and outer-spaced enigma within colossally stated 10-12 minute epics (“Underdimensional”, “Cabo de Hornos”). The work put into each song is appreciably dense yet easy in its movement, all centered around the right balance of finesse and brutality which these fellowes have always aimed for. As such, I’m not sure it’d make sense to pick out favorite riffs or fuss over every moment that’d blown my mind simply because there were so many within each piece. At the very least “Underdimensional” transported me to elsewhere, to the unknown with the strongest bout of eerie abysm-gazing I’ve heard all year.

Though I was already drowning in countless fantastic, high-quality death metal releases when it’d first hit me, ‘Void of Unending Depths‘ is the one album to truly transport me by way of my most ancient and personal connections with death metal, forcibly evolving my mind with its deadly input. It is one for the ages in my book, a record that sits firmly next to their already fine body of work yet somehow pushes their own limits somewhere darker still. A highest possible recommendation.

Highest recommendation. (100/100)

Rating: 10 out of 10.
TITLE:Void of Unending Depths
LABEL(S):Memento Mori
RELEASE DATE:April 22nd, 2022

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