Man has always found a certain fascination about death, almost romanticizing it if you will. One of my favorite works to illustrate this is “The Roses of Heliogabalus” by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, in which a roman emperor smothers his guests in a wave of rose petals. A depiction that seems colorful, hedonistic, and maybe even ethereal, but its implication (namely the death of the guests) is horrible. Inanimate Existence have created a similar work in their last effort, Underneath A Melting Sky, a highly-anticipated album which finally came out on the 25th of August.
First things first: the band have done a very good job in creating this album and making it progress cohesively. As the album moves forth, it gets continuously more melodic. Harps come in and solos swell to epic proportions; the percentage of melodic death metal riffs à la Be’lakor is also noticeable. But of course they never forget their identity, and thus burn their signature sound into your memory, in their violently beautiful ways.
One of my favorite tracks on the record was “The Djinn”. The song begins with haunting, slowly-strummed and arpeggiated chords, giving off a feeling of archaic fear. Of course this feeling isn’t out of place here, as the song explodes after a good forty seconds, growing into a behemoth raised from his slumber. The vocals invade your mind, coming through with ecstatic brutality. But as for any other part of the band, I can’t say any less of them; the guitars and bass are sludgy, working in a fine balance of sludge-filled riffs and mania-inducing, precise solos and lead parts. In the mix, the bass is a little louder, which is always pleasant to hear, especially when it’s as tight as on this record. At times, the song seems to self-reference the anxiety-filled harp-like chords from its beginning, giving the song a more interesting texture. Moving towards the final moments, we are greeted with a melodious solo and a tasteful clean outro, thus coming full circle.
The song immediately afterwards, “The Unseen Self”, puts a bigger focus on the melodic parts and the chorus-induced clean tones. With a very ‘medieval’ sound, it features instantly likable licks and chops that are sure to bring every guitarist into euphoria. The progression from a hard, sludgy sound to a rather melodic and heavily stylized one is very interesting to follow; it’s especially rewarding for listeners going through the album in one go.
I very much enjoyed Underneath A Melting Sky. The record brings in various extreme metal elements into the band’s music, namely melodic death, tech-death, and a bit of black metal for good measure. It is not quite as experimental as its predecessor, but this is absolutely for the better. Inanimate Existence seem very confident in their style of music and have, with this release, definitely made a name for themselves as one of modern tech-deaths stronger bands. However, the mixing and mastering on the record hasn’t been great, and while it’s more than solid, they haven’t made much progress since their first endeavor. I’m looking forward to more releases by them and seeing how they will grow over time.
FFO: Be’lakor, Arkaik
Notable Tracks: “The Djinn”; “The Unseen Self”