Well, since I reviewed the previous Mental Cruelty release on here over a year ago, we're brought back to the world of blasphemous lyricism, br00tal chugs and slamming riffs, grating highs and everything else in between. The abrasive German five-piece collective who blend crushing chromatic guitar riffs with eclectic screaming vocals, open note chugging and other elements of deathcore have made a return with their follow-up...hopefully with some new ideas this time around.
Inferis (loosely meaning the world of Hell or the dead) is the title for the band's sophomore full-length release and follow-up to their 2018 debut Purgatorium. The sprawling brutal deathcore album features ten songs, culminating into over 33 minutes of brutal content. Likewise, Inferis also includes guest vocals from the likes of other musicians in the scene such as Dickie Allen (Infant Annihilator) & Jason Evans (Ingested) in addition to guitar work from Jack Simmons (Slaughter To Prevail) as well as Marco Bayati (Desolace). The album is available through Unique Leader Records.
The album opens up with a pretty short, standard build up track consisting of some ambient background noise followed by a horror movie-esque score that leads into the opening chord of the first real song, 'Planet of Misery'. The finicky snare comes in quickly, as do the high guitar notes and ringing chords that accompany the deep, growling death metal vocals. I have to say that the production quality on here easily surpasses the previous release, as well, on pretty much all fronts. On the surface, I'd say this is cream of the crop in terms of slamming deathcore, but underneath that there are also some little ideas that also set it slightly apart from that.
The first slamming breakdown of 'Planet of Misery', mixed in with the band's toilet vocals and droning, really gives it an extra kick in terms of energy and keeps on that for a while before breaking into a guitar solo towards the end. A very decent first song. Next up, 'Blood Altar' happens to be one of my faves off Inferis for its mixed vocal variety as well as its cool, yet quick interchanging riffs. It also ends off on kind of a downtempo-ish vibe akin to something like Osiah, which I previously reviewed on here. 'Tormentum' & 'Godhunt' are two other songs I really get down to for their guest vocals (both courtesy of talented vocalists whom I am a fan of) and the pig squeals, slamming riffs and ending breakdown on the latter of the two.
Occasionally, there will be some fast-paced Infant Annihilator/Within The Ruins-like leads and solos thrown into the mix, especially with tracks like 'Priest of Damnation' and 'Mundus...' (which features Jack Simmons of Slaughter To Prevail as a guest guitarist). And 'Mundus...' itself is a really fleshed out song that includes some of the craziest instrumental transitions and chugging riffs that Inferis has to offer. The audio sample right before the slow, droning breakdown in the outro of this song is another high point for me.
At the end of the day, I really enjoy this release quite a lot and the minimal faults that I have against it are fairly trivial, if at all. I honestly was iffy about the sound of the snare at first, but it didn't really bother me after the first minute or so, since all the other cool and great brutality drowned it out and it ultimately kind of just fit in there. Also, I oddly enough was a bit indifferent to 'Cosmic Indifference' (no pun intended), a later track that I thought could've been done better and was just okay as a filler track. I'm not sure but it didn't stand out as much as the rest. However, the last three songs really made up for it, especially 'God Hunt' with Jason Evans and the final song 'Monocerotis', which ended it all off on a rather ominous note with its blackened undertones, minimalistic vocals, and focus on techy instrumentalism and eerie brutality.
I enjoy this album a hell of a lot and think it has a ton going for it. It builds upon the previous release and gives off a stellar (if dark and brooding at the same time) vibe that surpasses the already solid atmosphere of the debut. I'd highly recommend it if you're a fan at all of the previous material, of the genre itself, or of any of the artists featured on here. Mental Cruelty is growing to be one of those bands for me that started off on a strong tone with Purgatorium and seem to be one-upping themselves at their own game here, leaving me with a surprising sense of brutal satisfaction.
Fave Tracks: 'Blood Altar', 'Tormentum', 'Mundus Vult Decipi', 'Godhunt'
For Fans Of: Ingested, Organectomy, Signs of the Swarm
**This release is available now here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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