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Not the End: Inferi’s “The End of an Era: Rebirth” Showcases the Band’s Early Virtuosity in New Light

the end of an era rebirth

Nashville-based melodic death metal troubadours Inferi have proven themselves throughout the past decade as one of modern death metal’s most proficient and viscerally talented outfits. Taking their name from the term for a Necromancer’s army of re-animated corpses, the group have since their inception emulated themes of grandiose mythology and dark fantasy through an idiosyncratic mixture of Gothenburg-style melodic death metal and razor-sharp contemporary tech-death. Though each consecutive release has seen Inferi siphon away the melodeath elements in their sound to further emphasize more technical aspects, the band’s signature arcane aesthetic and virtuosic neoclassical panache have persisted as the cornerstone of their material since their breakout second album The End of an Era. Released in 2009, the album marks the full realization of Inferi’s unique identity, containing a wealth of immaculate performances and forward-thinking creativity. Moreover, The End of an Era represents the stylistic bridge between the melodic tones of the outfit’s early material and the technical, hyper-complex formulations that have evolved more recently within their sound.

Now, one decade later, Inferi have come full circle to acknowledge The End of an Era’s monumental importance to the band’s development both artistically and commercially. The group has shed new light on the record’s once-obfuscated passageways with a fully re-recorded, remastered edition performed by their current lineup, released Friday. With the dual goal of to paying tribute to the foundation upon which they built their now-prolific legacy and providing collectors with the opportunity to obtain a physical copy of the long-out-of-print album, Inferi have unleashed a holistically modern re-interpretation of this album’s grandeur with The End of an Era: Rebirth.

Rife with tremolo riffs, dual guitar solos, and a pantheon of layered orchestral effects such as strings, keys, and ambience, the original The End of an Era was no small undertaking for the relatively young Inferi, and an incredible achievement for a group that was at the time largely unknown to the greater metal world. Unfortunately, the technical limitations facing the group in 2009 resulted in an overall presentation of their material that, though shrewdly composed and deftly performed, was muddied by lower production standards and poorly integrated atmospheric effects. Luckily, the remastered version addresses each of its predecessor’s shortcomings and weaknesses, repairing them with the seasoned abilities and veteran know-how accrued by the group over the last decade.

Readily apparent is the careful attention paid to the texture of both the album’s bass and percussion tracks; while the original version leans unevenly toward a treble-heavy, guitar-forward sound – surely a product of the temporal setting of 2009 – the remaster has smoothed over these imbalances with a more discerning aural approach, utilizing the lush, pulsating bass-tones and crisp, shimmering jazzy rhythms of avant-garde technical death metal. Where once the album’s individual elements were gruff, scattered, and uncooperative, they now mesh together with an effortless sense of cohesion. Although this remaster contains no brand-new material, it will serve as a fun treat for devoted fans of the group thanks to the incredible forward strides it has taken in the arena of production and engineering, as well as the subtle compositional changes tucked within its breakneck performances.

Despite their archaic conceptual visage, Inferi have maintained a steadfast position at the forefront of cutting-edge technical and melodic death metal, continuing to thrive in the contemporary scene by honing, perfecting, and expanding the impressive scope of their ever-mutating approach to the genre. With a nearly spotless track record rounded out most recently by 2018’s Revenant, Inferi have struck an inexhaustible stride, and will soon embark on the formidable quest that is Tech Trek IV in Brooklyn this May alongside contemporary virtuosos Archspire, Virvum, and Wormhole. With some luck, Inferi will grace our ears with the newfound vitality they have imbued into The End of an Era: Rebirth, allowing new fans and old followers alike to witness the power of these now-classic tracks.

The End of an Era: Rebirth released Friday via The Artisan Era.


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