(Allen Griffin rejoins us with this review of the new album by Inverloch from Melbourne, Australia.)
Following up 2012’s critically acclaimed EP Dusk|Subside, Australian Doom/Death juggernaut Inverloch are set to release their debut full-length Distance|Collapsed this March via Relapse Records. Inverloch consists of Mark Cullen (guitars), Ben James (vocals), Chris Jordan (bass), Paul Mazziota (drums), and Matthew Skarajew (guitars), and you won’t read anything about this band without reference to Mazziota and Skarajew’s involvement with the seminal diSEMBOWELMENT, and this particular article will be no different. But there is certainly justification for this beyond the two bands’ sharing common members, seeing as how Inverloch started off under the moniker d.USK, performing material from diSEMBOWELMENT’s only official album, Transcending into the Peripheral. And while Inverloch might be performing original material, their sound is perfectly in keeping with their lineage.
For the uninitiated, what we are dealing with here is a Death/Doom hybrid that trawls through the darkest depths of crypt stench. The most immediate analogues for this sound are Incantation’s first two albums or, in more recent times, the work of Hooded Menace. But with Inverloch, there are also elements that add a more obscure, or what one might call a mystical, slant to the material. The group achieves this by juxtaposing clean guitars over the top of the crushing foundation laid down by the rest of the band. This is a consistent feature of both incarnations of this outfit and one of the things that makes them so fascinating.
Album opener “Distance Collapsed” displays both poles of Inverloch’s sound. Much of the track rages like the most crushing Death Metal, but by the conclusion of the eight-plus minutes of running time, things have descended into equally heavy yet strange occulted doom. This is followed by “From the Eventide Pool”, which revels purely in the obscure and mysterious. Inverloch successfully continue to move back and forth from one extreme to the other throughout the entire album.
Transcending into the Peripheral came out in 1993, and it’s also worth noting that there is certainly a difference in the recording quality of that release compared to Inverloch’s recordings. Some might argue, as is often the case in discussions of lo-fi Black Metal, that the recording restrictions of diSEMBOWELMENT’s material actually add to the forlorn tone of the music. But Inverloch’s crisp sound is still remarkably heavy and doesn’t suffer from too much clarity. The band still relish the space between notes, allowing a foreboding atmosphere to creep in any time they sink into one of their patented dirges.
Like many musicians, the members of Inverloch are embracing the return of Old School Death Metal. But this isn’t an instance of some younger kids engaging in Autopsy worship, but rather well-seasoned veterans who give the listener the best of both worlds. Inverloch aren’t merely trying to gain mileage from their past, and also aren’t rehashing riffs from their favorite cd’s either. Instead, we get a logical continuation of Disembowelment’s unique and captivating sound, and hopefully these releases will age as well as what has come before.
Distance|Collapsed will be released on March 4 by Relapse Records. Collected below are all the song premieres that have appeared to date.