Inanimate Existence – Underneath a Melting Sky (The Artisan Era)

Wednesday, 9th August 2017
Rating: 9/10

Getting right back into business after last year’s (criminally underrated) Calling from a Dream, Inanimate Existence have returned with a new album, new label, and a 3-piece line-up. Clearly some changes have been abound within the camp, and it seems the last effort was a real love it/hate it type of affair which has stemmed a look back towards the band’s past. But just because they are revisiting some of their roots doesn’t mean it’s just a simple rehash.

Instead, what makes Underneath a Melting Sky work best is that they have combined some of their roots (we are talking about Liberation through Hearing) and used it in combination with what they’ve learned since (i.e. Calling from a Dream). While there’s no over-arching story (at least to this scribe’s knowledge), they provide a slim and trim 8-song, 36-minute album that channels the essence of Inanimate Existence. The songs provide a solid bout of technicality in the framework of actual songs – the grim and dreary darkness that conjured up a good chunk of Calling’s atmosphere remains, as do the occasional clean guitar moments, which help to provide some balance. Some dreamy-ness still sits well with the lead work (see “Forever to Burn”), and a few floaty riff segments continue the band’s mystic vibes. Some things that tend to stand out a bit more this time around are the use of dual vocals (see “In Moonlight I Am Reborn”), some of the bass work (“The Djinn”), and the production feels crisp while maintaining their chunky, often ominous riffing style. Lastly, their use of fantastic cover art is ever-present, with an immersive breadth that captures the imagination the same way that the album does – darkness with just a sprinkling of light.

Being able to maintain atmosphere, dread, mystery, and occasional frantic technical chaos is what makes Underneath a Melting Sky such a strong release. Inanimate Existence have been a go-to for tech death since they’ve started, and nothing here has changed or diminished that notion.

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