Inanimate Existence – A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement (Unique Leader)Monday, 16th June 2014
When was the last time that a tech death album took you on a journey? Sure, there was Warforged’s valiant effort at the beginning of this year, but that was only an EP. A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement takes the best elements from IE’s 2012 debut, Liberation Through Hearing, such as the eerie, mystical vibe and progressive leanings and fully integrates them into the songs. While the debut seemed to ‘Jeckyl and Hyde’ the tech death opening tracks and relegate many experimental aspects of the band to the later instrumental half of the album, they have been successfully fused into the tech death center of each track to create a truly intriguing beast.
One of the most special aspects of A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement is that of its storyline. The band has already posted the album’s story to their Facebook page and the writing is phenomenal (seriously, go check it out for yourself). As a true critic might say, if you are looking for a good story you can go read a book. So how does the music itself hold up? Thankfully, the music avoids the trappings of modern tech death. The songs are dynamic and focusing on the storytelling aspect keeps the material from going overboard with fret fireworks. Heavy and relentless when it needs to be, but also not afraid to back away to allow some melodic soloing or mystic atmospheres to take the lead momentarily.
“Staring Through Fire” seems to exemplify what works best for Inanimate Existence: an eerie, acoustic-lead opening jumps into some visceral riffing and guttural roars that veers into a nice melodic solo and eventually a more black metal-esque segment and eventually closing out with some otherworldly keyboards in the background. Their refusal to submit to the by-the-numbers death metal rulebook is also evidenced by some usage of flute and female vocals. This is also an album that reveals more as you listen. Each time it seems like there is something new coming out of the shadows to enjoy.
With the volume of play-it-safe tech death noodlers out there, it’s refreshing to see a band that holds atmosphere and storytelling in such a high regard. Yet this focus doesn’t diminish the raw, primal death metal core so much as elevate it to a new state of being. An outside-the-box approach to death metal: come for the story and stay for the compelling music that brings it to life.