The Infernal Sea return with their sophomore album The Great Mortality; a record all about the black death which is obviously the most metal theme you could want. The Infernal Sea deal in the sort of melodic black metal that bands like Behemoth, Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir deal in, which is wonderfully apt considering this album is being released by Cacophonous Records.
The Great Mortality is relentless. You want heavy? The Great Mortality is fucking heavy. This is eight tracks of the most punishing, flat-out black metal that you could possibly want. The drumming in particular sounds like it’s probably the most knackering thing to perform. This album is an exhausting listen that’s dark, bleak and just bloody brilliant. The opening three tracks of Way of the Wolf, The Bearer and Pestmeester form the holy trinity of metal openings; a glorious trio of songs that tell you exactly what The Infernal Sea are about, and obviously, it’s about being fucking heavy.
Alright, maybe we’re underselling how good The Infernal Sea can be because while this is a very heavy album, there’s an awful lot going on. For one, the guitar work is gorgeous on this record. Tremolo-picked riffs are in abundance and they’re loaded with melody. This is a surprisingly memorable record considering how impenetrable some black metal can be.
What also impresses is the production and mix. Black metal often favours a muddy, under-produced sound that doesn’t do the music any favours, but The Great Mortality is wonderfully produced with a thunderous, bass-heavy mix that is partnered with surprisingly bright production. If only all black metal releases dealt in such clarity.
There are also some moments of respite that do help diversify the album somewhat. The Pestmeester in particular has a striking yet delicate breakdown that introduces a violin. This gives the song a morose and sombre tone that makes the shift back into heavy territory even more impactful. Plague Herald is also stylistically different and favours a more mid-paced speed that allows you to appreciate its fantastic, stomping riff.
The Infernal Sea’s The Great Mortality is an album that you simply must own if you like metal. The Inferal Sea have absolutely mastered their craft and turned in one of the most satisfying black metal releases you could possibly want. It’s heavy, it’s memorable and it’s pretty much essential if you enjoy metal.
The Infernal Sea’s The Great Mortality is out now through Cacophonous Records.