Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: Inurn - Inurn I

Inurn, a shrouded depressive black metal project divided between Arizona and New Mexico provide Horn of Woe with yet another great submission. Described to me as influenced by Judas Iscariot, Forgotten Woods, and Philip Glass my interest was instantly piqued. The two members Luke and John each record in isolation and send their work via email to each other. I was wary when I heard that there was little physical interaction between members but my worries were unfounded. These two musicians create something unique in the ever growing (and redundant) world that is depressive black metal. Their work is extremely repetitive and utilizes keyboard in a way that is not overdone or too "dungeon synth" for it's own good.  While most depressive black metal falls somewhat flat for me, Inurn give the genre new life through their stedfast dedication to repetition, using it to create a somber, meditative atmosphere.

The opener, "Anchorless, Adrift" is nearly eleven minutes of crushingly dark, hypnotic, swirling guitars, crashing digital percussion, and gentle droning synths. The guitar tone is surprisingly thick, not the typical paper-thin tone implemented by depressive bands, adding a new texture to the genre. Throughout this record old ideas are indeed rehashed but not in a way that leads to stagnation, instead the ideas a worked with and built upon by the two musicians. Yes, repetition has been a cornerstone of the black metal genre since it's creation, but Inurn takes that repetition to a whole new level, barely ever striving off course, completely submerging the listener in the music. Luke Henley's vocals also provide a unique stamp on Inurn's sound. Rather than opting for solely traditional black metal screeches or wails, he utilizes a wide variety of styles to express a range of emotions. The screeches and wails are still present but a gruff bark and a pained shout are also part of his vocal stylings, helping to make the album not grow stale. Inurn I is just an extremely well crafted piece of music, it's obvious it's two creators know exactly what they are doing and understand what it takes to use repetition in a way that does not grow tiresome. Their addition of synths and loud thunderous drumming, plus the distinct and varied vocals only add the the wave of guitar fuzz that washes over the listener.

Inurn breathes cold, dismal life into the depressive black metal genre. While obviously incredibly derivative of the works of some of the dreary art form's masters the duo leaves their own stamp on the genre. One which is full of heavy digital percussion, white-washed guitar fuzz, and tasteful synth work. This will appeal to longtime fans of the more depressive stylings of black metal and to those who are looking for something that is not a carbon copy of the likes of Xasthur, Moon, etc. Highly recommended and can be found here.

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