(The Infernal Sea have recently released a new EP, and here we have DGR’s review of its two gruesome tracks.)
The beginning weeks of November brought quite a few interesting things, and among them was the release of a 7″ vinyl known as Agents Of Satan by UK black metal act The Infernal Sea. The two-song EP sees the band descending further into the ghoulish black metal realm, as they’ve continually refined both their sound and their image, evolving from an already fairly mean and white-knuckle rush of black metal written by a group of angry dudes in hoodies armed with plague doctor masks to a fully robed, smoke enveloped getup, with the group giving in fully to the ‘infernal’ side of their name.
It does also prove, however, that the band are big fans of having fans put some effort into scoring their new music, and thanks to the glory of Satan, we have managed to do so… if Satan were the website Cult Never Dies and their stream of the disc.
Surprisingly, its not the namesake song of the disc that gives Infernal Sea’s new EP most of its weight. That honor goes to its leadoff song, “Skinwalker”, a re-recording/very slight re-working of a song which originally appeared on the group’s 2013 EP The Crypt Sessions. Given that coverage of The Infernal Sea didn’t really begin in earnest here until the lead-up to the band’s excellent album The Great Mortality (and, admittedly, we had a lot of fun with the album’s staggered release dates), which you should absolutely listen to, “Skinwalker” might as well be a new track at this point.
The snarling vocals are brought all the way up front, and the song’s five minutes of teeth-baring metal project absolute bloodshed, at times pulling from every black metal riff in the book and heavily burying itself in a wall of blasts. Despite this, “Skinwalker” also has a fair bit of grooving rhythm buried within all that up-front spikey-armor meant to scare listeners away. While the bulk of The Great Mortality’s music was high-speed and high-adrenaline, “Skinwalker” bounces along from one moment to the next, ordering its titular monster from one victim to the next.
“Agents Of Satan” is the newer song of the two and one that will likely be more recognizable to people who got on the bus when The Great Mortality hit. It keeps the high-speed tempo in full force for most of the track, propelled forward by a shrill melodic riff that has both drummer and vocalist hanging on for dear life at times, though where the song really gets fun is actually in its back third, when The Infernal Sea actually let their bassist get up-front and the band drop into a rock-stupid thudding groove for a bit before returning back into the realm of the screaming ghouls to close out “Agents Of Satan”.
The song itself is divorced from the larger multi-song overarching conceptual leanings of Infernal Sea’s earlier material (though the band have stated that the EP focuses on stories of ritual killings, so they remain steadfast in pulling from all things death for material) and is fairly straightforward because of it. As a three-minute blaster, “Agents Of Satan” is a designed to be like having someone hold a flamethrower to your face. It is recognizable in the tropes it plays with, but by the same token, the execution of them is near flawless, and hearing The Infernal Sea blast and howl through the three-plus minutes of the song is well worth the soreness-inducing headbang session.
Agents Of Satan is decidedly rawer than its predecessor and it shows that The Infernal Sea are still setting out with something to prove. It has the band further entrenching themselves into the ritualistic black metal realm and embracing a sharper tone than the already razorwire one they had before. Agents Of Satan also proves that the band are willing to continue down a bloodsoaked path for conceptual material and keep things fairly grounded in the horrors that mankind commits upon itself. The gruesome nature of its two subjects is not to be discounted, and the band do plenty with the quick blast of fury that they provide on the EP.
While a new disc may be a bit off in the distance, The Infernal Sea are quickly becoming an act to watch closely, and Agents Of Satan is certainly a welcome way to make the wait more tolerable. With The Great Mortality and this new EP back-to-back, The Infernal Sea are expertly positioning themselves at the forefront of their particular branch of black metal.