Inferi Spins an Otherworldly Tale “Of Sunless Realms” (EP Premiere)
A revenant is an implacable undead creature, resurrected from the grave and driven by the force of sheer will. In many stories, they’re compelled to realize a singular mission or exact vengeance for a long-unanswered wrong. Revenant is also the title of Inferi’s unimpeachable 2018 full-length record — a stunning achievement of progressive, melodic technical death metal — but as monumental a statement this was, Inferi’s own purpose remains far from fulfilled.
While also working on an upcoming full-length, the quintet buckled down over the course of this calamitous year to churn out Of Sunless Realms, a five-track EP that continues their meteoric rise into the upper echelons of tech-death excellence. The EP drops this Friday, but we’ve got an exclusive stream of the whole thing right here:
The Lovecraftian mythos, and especially its most celebrated denizen Cthulhu, is a comfortable neighborhood pub at this point for metal — densely populated, well-worn in its familiarity, widely loved, and you’ll likely run into someone you know while there. But in Inferi’s hands, fed through the gauntlet of their unstable topography, this fractured madness takes tangible form. To confront an unknowable eldritch truth is to shatter all traces of sanity, an experience given form as Inferi dart from one idea to the next, never complacent, always yearning for the next stage in their journey.
“It feels like each song is made up of a bunch of small songs” — that was my wife Kaine’s take on Of Sunless Realms. While this could be interpreted in many other cases as a slight, as an assessment of a band reaching too far and winding up with more ideas than they can successfully Frankenstein into coherence, this is where Inferi’s strength lies. Of Sunless Realms is impeccably smooth regardless of genre, but notably so in context of it, where “everything at once” is often taken as a prime songwriting philosophy. And that’s why this record works so well as an EP: Inferi are already cramming so many ideas into each piece, fitting each segment Tetris-like into the overall progression, that these five songs are overwhelming (and satisfying) enough as they are.
The members of Inferi are all masters of spatial awareness, in a musical sense — when the guitars shift into full-tilt arpeggio shred, drummer Spencer Moore and bassist Andrew Kim anchor the music with as straightforward an approach as you’ll find within the scope of Inferi’s organized chaos. In more riff-oriented passages, Moore is all too willing to leap into the fray, all four limbs churning to accent and echo every note laid down by his bandmates. Over it all, vocalist Steve Boiser leaves no doubt as to the potency of both his guttural lows and perfect-for-black-metal shrieks. His command of both extremes of his range and his ability to leap mid-bar from one to the other is such that he sounds like two distinct people — many vocalists struggle to master just one of these styles.
For a band who seem incapable of tying themselves down to the same groove for more than eight measures at a time, Inferi have written a remarkably fluid collection of songs that capitalizes on their recent full-lengths to reaffirm their status as one of the brightest names in progressive tech death. Inferi have seen a handful of personnel shifts in recent years, but between Of Sunless Realms and 2019’s The End of an Era | Rebirth — a rerecording with the new lineup of the band’s second full-length originally released in 2009 — they’ve clearly found their stride. With Of Sunless Realms as the first real taste of what Inferi’s current iteration is capable of putting out while already working on other material, the future of this band is unambiguously promising.