Infrared – Back to the Warehouse (Self-Released)Monday, 10th June 2019
Raiding the vaults of older material in preparation for a new studio album in 2020, Ottawa’s Infrared with Back to the Warehouse record an EP of four originals plus an older Iron Maiden cover. Those already familiar with the band through their previous full-length Saviours know that these gentlemen deliver old school thrash the Bay Area way – incorporating many licks, riffs, and tempo maneuvers familiar to those who worship at the Metallica and Megadeth altars.
The bass play of Mike Forbes stands out against the guitar rhythms and melodic lead breaks from Kirk Gidley and Armin Kamal. He has that early Flotsam and Jetsam meets Overkill precision and progressive nature to keep “One Mouth Two Faces” engaging, especially during the stop/start shifts plus intriguing mid-tempo groove change. Tribal-like drumming against a jackhammer, semi-staccato guitar foundation gives “Hate Today, Despise Tomorrow” a bit of a shape shifting atmosphere, turning the 5:18 track into something more anthem-oriented and mysterious, Armin’s personality shining in the verses through his outer edge high pitch moments against a sinister mid-range delivery (think older Jon Oliva next to Alice Cooper). Infrared still struggle at times to break out of a rigid, almost mechanical performance when you just wish they would let loose a bit – it is thrash after all, not meant to feel like it fits perfectly on the digital audio works grid of choice. Those who love the Di’Anno-era of Iron Maiden will find “Wrathchild” delightful – Infrared handling the nuances and bass/guitar interplay adequately, while the impassioned vocals fit Kamal’s natural abilities as well as adding some double kick/ electric girth to the arrangement.
It will be interesting to hear where Infrared goes now that they’ve recorded most of their older material. Back to the Warehouse isn’t the worst thrash EP this scribe has heard as of late – but it’s probably not one that’s going to gain consistent airings because the hooks, riffs, and songwriting doesn’t elevate itself against their contemporaries of their own guard or younger.