Tardigrade Inferno – Arrival of a Train (Self-Released)Friday, 19th May 2023
Unique amalgamations of influences these days can pay huge dividends in separating artists from the pack. Russian band Tardigrade Inferno has developed an intriguing blend of avant-garde metal that they proclaim as ‘dark cabaret metal’ – active since 2016 to release an EP, singles, plus Mastermind full-length over the last six years leading up to this newest four-song EP Arrival of a Train. Their music video cover for LazyTown’s “We Are Number One” received over a million views, exposing listeners to a playful reinterpretation that included elements of folk, alternative, industrial, and extreme metal while being remarkably infectious in its melodic approach.
The title track chugs along at a slower, industrial-oriented groove clip – where you are exposed to the wildly insane vocal range of Darya Rorria as she shrieks, screams, and imitates a ‘choo-choo’ train against the chugging guitars, twisted keyboards, plus shifting/playful rhythm section backbone. The ‘breakdown’ during the second half of this track is very Gojira-like as it slows to a lurching crawl before gathering steam back into the circus-like turnstile musical components that circulate incessantly in your brain. There’s always a sense of left-field insanity amidst the heavier, driving riffs – guitarist/keyboardist Alexander Pavlovich filling the aural landscape with a bevy of colors across the alternative, gothic, industrial, and modern metal spectrum. He knows when to allow more space for the verses before crashing the party in dramatic fashion for “Engine of Skin”, the accordion/organ soundscapes organic as his fellow musicians support the darker to light mood shifts. The contrasts musically remind this scribe of artists like Avatar or a more atmospheric System of a Down – the wild card being the vocal chameleon versatility from Darya, as she has qualities to her phrasing, range, and emotional expression that cross Gwen Stefani to Jinjer/Sumo Cyco proportions.
It does seem shocking that Tardigrade Inferno remains a DIY act – maybe it’s by choice. For my money, Arrival of a Train could be that sleeper gem EP of the year – as this is a wild aural ride that won’t be forgotten.