(NSC scribe Andy Synn turns in his 14th SYNN REPORT with a focus on the discography of Sweden’s Insision.)
The grotesque, mutated beast calling itself Insision was expelled from the womb in 1997, an unnatural combination of blood-soaked Floridian death metal violence and Swedish death metal malevolence. Since that time they have unleashed upon the world one EP, 3 albums, and numerous split releases with like-minded deviants. Though perhaps some of you may have heard their name due to the presence of renowned metal author Daniel Ekeroth on bass (although he has recently departed due to his hectic publishing schedule), the group have also shared stages with death metal royalty like Suffocation and Vader, tightening their vicious live show through a hectic and extensive touring schedule, leaving a trail of devastation across Europe.
Yet for all their straightforward, blood-drenched barbarism, to dismiss the group as merely another in a long line of Cro-Magnon misanthropists, eager to express their own bile and misogyny through the medium of down-tuned brutality, is to miss out on the subtle, insidious growth the band have demonstrated since their inception. From their early years where an unfocussed, yet unrelenting attack was the key to their sound’s success – giving their audience little time to think and inspiring a visceral, instinctive reaction from their willing victims – the band have steadily developed their technical prowess and compositional skills, constructing an ever more warped and twisted vision of angular, incorporeal guitar work and bone-cracking drumming.
Their sound evokes ungodly visions of towering monoliths of mangled flesh and distorted bone sculptures, their progression from thuggish nihilism, through psychotic, serial killer chic, to the possessed ravings of their current, demonic incarnation evident in the channelling torrents of iniquity and incoherent horror which flow through and tie together each album they have regurgitated from the depths of their decaying souls. (more after the jump, including sample songs with which to wreck your ears . . .)
The Dead Live On – 1999
The band’s debut EP serves as a short and brutal assault on the senses, unfettered in its pursuit of sadistic carnage. The production straddles the divide between the contaminated curse of Floridian death metal and the searing spite of the Stockholm sound, growling and low-tuned guitars delivered with a rusted, buzz-saw frenzy.
Vulgar and necrotic, “Corridors Of Blood” hammers with a single-minded, brain-dead craving for butchery, driving nails of agony over and over into the listener without remorse or regret, while the unstoppable tread of “Paedophilia Cum Sadissimus” is an exercise in obscene, thrusting guitar licks and disgusting lyrical pollution, vocalist Carl Birath belching forth his foul poetry of perversion.
The cadaverous cacophony of “The Dead Live On” is a stripped down, desiccated number, ripping and tearing through a series of many-angled, scathing riffs and lethal, garrotting guitar leads that pave the way for the nefarious, grasping “She Speaks No More”, redolent with the hate-filled venom and odious garbage of the decaying soul.
Last track “Exaggerated Torment” closes the EP with all dials pushed dangerously into the red. The song thrums with barely contained antagonism, leaking poisonous miasmas of vile, spiritual offal. The guitars mix caustic tremolo work with explosive, sulphuric arrangements of unstable riffage, while the vocals plumb the depths of tormented, abyssal self-loathing with their guttural death metal invocations.
Sample Song: “The Dead Live On”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/03-The-Dead-Live-On.mp3|titles=Insision – The Dead Live On]
Beneath The Folds Of Flesh – 2002
Insision’s debut full-length is a brutish, ugly affair kicked into unholy life by the lurching frenzy of “World Impaled”, all buzz-saw guitars and gruesome bursts of pulverising speed, whose stark production helps create an atmosphere of murky, incoherent horror. A blight of corrosive riffs gives the stark, flayed skeleton of the song a strong backbone of dense, metallic power while the guttural, dehumanised vocals stain every moment with foulness and decay.
Where “Trapped Within” is characterised by sudden eruptions of maddening, frenzied speed, overlaid with putrid, tremulous lead parts and nerve-shredding cascades of discordant chord progressions, the rumbling, possessed fury of “Sado God” forgoes even these minor attempts at subtlety, its screaming opening leading into a dense, unflinching bludgeoning of violent riffage and merciless drumming.
The menacing “Temple Of Flesh” slows things down some, grinding implacably forward on the back of crunchy, glass-chewing riffs and primitive, brutish drumming, then suddenly spasming in paroxysms of terrible ecstasy, unleashing a demented array of sandstorm blast-beats and winding, burrowing lead guitars.
Cementing the idea that, for a manically aggressive and brutally direct album, this record has a larger breadth and scope of vision than one might immediately imagine, “Rewind Into Chaos” is a particularly blistering number which sees the band revelling in the conjuration of moments of chaotic, dissonant technicality and whirling, deconstructed arrangements of riffs and vocals in constant flux; while, by contrast, “Before My Altar” is a tightly structured, propulsive arrangement of repugnant vocal refrains and linear, aggressive riffing incorporating nerve-shredding, dis-harmonic guitar runs to give the song a more evocative, evil majesty.
Sample Song: “Before My Altar”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/08-Before-My-Altar.mp3|titles=Insision – Before My Altar]
Revealed And Worshipped – 2002
“Revealed And Worshipped” sees the band refining their sound to achieve a new level of clinical brutality and sick, seductive savagery. While the band still carve and bludgeon with repulsive joy, they have further developed their mangled, tortured technicality, allowing them to twist and mould their songs into ever more contorted and unnatural shapes.
“No Belief” is a fractious, frantic opener, tripping over itself in a tumultuous avalanche of crashing drums and bilious vocals. The mix of rusted tremolo parts and insistent, feverish riffage makes the song a virulently catchy warning of things to come, without compromising the aural devastation.
The undulating, fluid structure and dissonant technicality of “The Imminent Vision” shred and storm through lightning fast solos, cracked harmonics and staccato rhythms without missing a beat, while the utterly infectious “We Did Not Come To Heal” claws and scratches at the psyche, gushing crimson gouts of tormented notes and morbid, unnatural vocal expulsions. Opening with a mesmerising, misanthropic lead, the song progressively builds in intensity, shifting from a shambling, down-tuned torpor into a predatory display of anti-melodic guitar riffs played at manic, break-neck pace.
At times haunting, harsh and traumatic, the album maintains a gnawing sense of nervous, infectious energy, and creeping, skin-crawling dread, the disturbing ambience of the title track leading into the nightmarish vocal refrains and serrated guitars of “The Unrest”, a vicious throat-punch of a song that chokes the listener with noxious clouds of blast-furnace riffage. The prime, and primal, death metal guitar work on this track is a sick pleasure to experience, slicing and dissecting the listener with cold, methodical precision.
“Grotesque Plague Mass”, as well as having a killer title, sees Carl Birath continue to expel his filthy hymns without pause or apology, the rest of the band conjuring up a vortex of criminally insane, calculated riffage to fulfil his prophecies of destruction and damnation. Unrelentingly technical guitar work evokes images of torn flesh and broken bones, the band shredding nails and shedding skin with the aberrant ferocity of their performance.
Both the tremolo heavy “The Foul Smell Of Humans” and the rolling juggernaut that is “In the Gallows” keep the second half of the album from becoming in any way a more comfortable experience, mixing some truly abhorrent vocal emissions with barb-wire guitars and rust-coated harmonics, though it is with “The Cleansing” and “Havoc” that we see the band really taking a more unhinged and experimental tack, the former incorporating moments of hellish, multi-layered vocals in its drawn-out, moody opening segments, the latter incorporating more overt elements of dark melody and a hypnotic, vomit-inducing pitch and yaw of grumbling bass and pulsating, cancerous guitar lines.
Sample Song: “Grotesque Plague Mass”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/06-Grotesque-Plague-Mass.mp3|titles=Insision – Grotesque Plague Mass]
Ikon – 2007
With a shift in sound and direction, “Ikon” reveals the band pursuing a more coherent, monolithic death metal sound, the riffs thicker and pulsing with arcane, ebon energy which conjures a more occult and diabolical atmosphere. Elements of hybridised black metal rear their heads on several tracks, echoing the shadowy themes and blasphemous iconography of the record’s design, serving to draw the band’s murderous sound into more macabre realms of formless, incomprehensible horror.
The album opens with the short, unforgiving slaughter of “A Ravenous Discharge” which sees the band utilising their improved production values to harness both an organic, raging sense of power and a mechanically tight, effortlessly shifting dynamic playing style and produce one cohesive and utterly devastating whole.
The godless endeavour of “Unbind My Hands” maintains the tradition of taking full-force death metal riffage and filtering it through a cracked and fractured prism of twisted anti-melody and deformed structural defects, resulting in disfigured riff-conjurations of unpredictable structure and incalculable cruelty.
These snatches of gnarled, almost blackened, melody flitter through “By Habit” and “Depleting The Non-Being”; the former trading more strongly in darker, claustrophobic moods and strangling atmospherics, and the latter grafting its bleak and unforgiving nature onto a chassis of pitted and corroded death metal steel, all heaving, thrusting riffs and jagged lead guitars.
The bleak, implacable crawl of “Into The Cold” is a new step for the band, too, an excruciating formulation of soul-crushing despair and sanity-destroying horror that grinds onward with bulldozing, remorseless momentum. The longest song by far on the record, it rarely deviates from its steady, tormenting pace, all the while oozing dark promise and bitter, ashen majesty.
Deviance, however, is the name of the game throughout the album as a whole, the recording capturing a rebellious, satanic spirit of rampaging, vengeful fury (“Breathing The Black Dust”) and seminal, lust-driven depravity (“Entangled In Thorns”), channelling the sickness of the flesh and the perversion of the soul into anthems for the damned and the deranged.
Whereas their first album saw the band channelling their aggression with unhinged, fanatical fervour, and their second saw them developing a coldly calculated method to their madness, on Ikon the band plays the role of high priests of pain and suffering, fully in control of their sickening urges and looking to spread their unholy gospel to the unshriven masses of crazed human vermin.
Sample Song: “Unbind My Hands”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/02_Insision_Unbind_My_Hands.mp3|titles=Insision – Unbind My Hands]
Recommended For Fans Of: Decapitated, Morbid Angel, Cryptopsy
EDITOR’S NOTE: Just in case you think Andy’s report is incomplete, we DO know that in June of this year, Insision released a new 6-song EP called End of All via Sevared Records. A little bird whispered in my ear that Andy may soon have something to say about that, too.