“The Human Apheresis”, the new album from Finnish metalers The Iniquity Descent is a bit of a mix bag. Though admittedly compulsive throughout, the release does leave a taste of but more often simply fulfils the expectations of the genre it is spawn from and takes predictability into similarity. It does entertain with its caustic presence and violating intrusions throughout but lacks the armoury of uniqueness and diversity to invite anything more.
The Iniquity Descent formed in 2009 when guitarist Mikael Mannström after taking a break from songwriting for many years, decided to work on a couple of songs which he played to long time friend and former band colleague Mathias Lillmåns, vocalist for Finntroll. The outcome was the pair teaming up for more songs and the later addition of second guitarist Philip Kerbs. Eventually bassist Jonas Frilund and drummer Kenna Nygård joined the ranks of The Iniquity Descent, who now were a fully funtioning band. 2010 saw the release of debut EP “Trust the Serpent” with their second four song release “An Empty Temple”, the following year, both to strong responses and acclaim with the latter leading to a deal with German record label Massacre Records who release the ten track album.
The promo for “The Human Apheresis” tags the music as avant-garde black metal, but to be honest there is nothing in their sound which is experimental or pushing boundaries. It is intense, formidable, and offers good creativity which often means adding quite contagious grooves or blackened deviations to the genre, but nothing openly unique or challenging genre walls ever truly makes an appearance.
‘In Prostration’ opens the album with an initial building brew of distressed ambience before exploding into a high octane assault of tightly wound riffs and forceful rhythms. The vocals of Lillmåns spray venom with every growl and are of standards one expects and always gets from the singer to prowl the energised corruptive sounds. The song is strong and well constructed but makes no demands and offers sounds which are well delivered but familiar.
The following ‘An Empty Temple’ is a different beast, a rivetting tempest of barbed insidious hooks, driving flesh ripping riffs, and barbaric rhythmms. Its heart is grooved for an irresistible lure and whereas the opener was just fine this is a startling and disfunctional riot of pleasure, rock and metal at its best all rolled into one.
From this pont the tracks generally miss capturing the imaginatuion, their bodies on the unispired side though with a cultivated intensity which is never dull. Songs like the spiteful ‘Obedience Torn’, ‘Collector Vs Protector’, and the title track, all get the job done with accomplished skill and energy but they just do not fire up the passions enough whilst also sounding pretty much the same for too long, something the majority of the songs are alittle guilty of, even with the most intent of focus upon them.
The closing ‘Infected’though is another true highlight of the release, the song a twisting ferocity of abrasive manipulation and snake charmer grooves. Its breath is coarse and malevolent whilst its core inventive and imaginative and ends the album as impressively as it began with ‘An Empty Temple’.
With only two truly enterprising and striking songs to breed deep fascination and intrigue, “The Human Apheresis” is as said at the start, flat on intrigue and satisfaction though overall it did entertain and make for an enjoyable forty minutes or so. One is just left feeling short changed though from a band which one feels and knows will produce much more in the future.