INFESTER “To the Depths, in Degradation” death metal re-release review and youtube stream

Re-releases of “best kept secret” type of old bands, usually package attractively mediocre quality content using 80’s/90’s nostalgia and vinyl fetishism.

Even when the music is good, most such bands were mere clones back at the day, therefore their (re-) discovery offers modest thrills.

INFESTER is the exception to the rule. If, like me, you’ve never heard them then you’re in for a big surprise!

What distinguished INFESTER from the rest of early 90’s USDM, was a focus on creating morbid atmospheres while still retaining brutality.

They have achieved this by composing and performing quite progressively for the time and their age (the trio was aged 15, 16 and 17 years old back then!).

The song structures are elaborate and full of dynamics, brutal grinding parts alternating with majestic doom breakdowns.

Keyboards are extensively used and this in particular is something that gives a European touch to the album, as “atmospheric doom/death” (as we used to call it back at the time) was on the rise across the Atlantic at that period of time, after the British trio of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema has shown the way.

INFESTER “To the Depths, in Degradation” re-issue cover by Chris Campbell. One of the rare metal artworks this largely unknown artist has ever designed.

There’s a lot of variety to the vokills as well. Most of them are heavy grunts reminding those of Suffocation at the “Human Waste” mini-LP. They are accompanied by higher pitched rasps, which even though sometimes do not sound too good, fulfill perfectly their role in helping create a sick and infernal atmosphere.

Actually, judging by people’s reactions to the album as they appear on the webernet, it appears that it scared shitless a lot of them – there’s even comments around qualifying it “as the most disgusting metal album ever created”.

Except the atmosphere and the musicianship, another unique characteristic of the album is its production. Indeed, it sounds totally alien compared to the other USDM records of the time- most of them having been ultra-compressed by Scott Burns at Morrisound.

Concerning the production, drummer Dario Derna (ex-member of Drawn and Quartered, Evoken, Funebrarum, Meat Shits) states in the liner notes:

“We told our engineer that we wanted an organic sound because we didn’t want to sound like all the overproduced death metal that out there at the time and he literally ended up not compressing any instrument (I guess that it was his interpretation of ‘organic’) which accounts for the wide range of dynamics on the recording.” (Dario Derna)

Aesthetically and lyrically “To the Depths, in Degradation” was very extreme. The gruesome artwork has been done by Chris Campbell who was recommended to the band by Moribund Records. The other known record he drew the cover for is the Nocturnus 7” – and it’s total shit.

Still in the liner notes, Dario also grabs the opportunity of addressing the rumors that Infester were a nazi band.

“Lastly, unlike what some have speculated, Infester was never a racist or NS band. At most, we didn’t take some of our lyrics and imagery too seriously and it showed our immaturity.” (Dario Derna)

INFESTER “To the Depths, in Degradation” LP packaging courtesy of Martyrdoom Productions

Moving into the wax side of things, this re-release is a nice surprise as it has been prepared by Martyrdoom Productions, which is basically the continuation of defunct Nuclear Winter Records – which was for a few years the best underground death metal record label in the planet. CD versions of the Dead Congregation albums put aside, this is their first full-length release and it’s a fucking pleasure that they’re back!

The artwork looks fantastic for the first time on a LP sleeve, the audio has been re-mastered as apparently there were some volume level issues between tracks on the original Moribund Records CD from 1994.

Posted on by panos.agoros in Death Metal, Music

About panos.agoros

Music and computers. The same two passions that Panos has ever since he was a kid, have defined the path that he would follow in life. He studied computer science in Paris-France in the early/mid 90's and is an IT engineer, providing since 1999 Mission Critiical support for enterprise environments. He is also known to be a retro hardware scavenger and old computer collector. His love for music pushed him to become actively involved in the scene. From November 1995 until the early 00's he ran Chaotik Webzine, a pioneering music webzine and the first to provide coverage for both the metal & hardcore underground. He is for the last 15 years an editor of Metal Hammer Greece, the biggest music magazine in the country. He rans a small record label and distro, Blastbeat Mailmurder, and is also the vocalist/lyricist of critically and fan acclaimed astrogrind outfit Dephosphorus. In his lost hours he does field recordings and manipulates sound waves for his experimental noise/ambient Kommpound.

One Response to INFESTER “To the Depths, in Degradation” death metal re-release review and youtube stream

  1. Pingback: INFESTER “To the Depths, in Degradation” CD/LP | BLASTBEAT MAILMURDER --- Jesus Fucking Wept vol.1 LP out now!

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