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Inferi - "The Path of Apotheosis" (CD)

Inferi - "The Path of Apotheosis" CD cover image

"The Path of Apotheosis" track listing:

1. Those Who From the Heavens Came
2. The Promethean Kings
3. A Betrayal Unforetold
4. Wrath of the Fallen One
5. The Ophidian Form
6. Prelude to a Perilous Fate
7. Destroyer
8. Onslaught of the Covenant
9. Marching Through the Flames of Tyranny
10. The Ancients of Shattered Thrones
11. The Path of Apotheosis

Reviewed by on March 10, 2014

"All in all, 'The Path of Apotheosis' is a pinnacle of modern melodic death metal. As its name implies in Latin, the album sees Inferi raised to a godlike level."

Nashville, Tennessee’s Inferi has already written the first two chapters of its story as a band with debut “Divinity In War” in 2007 and 2009’s “End of An Era.” The group’s path is that of melodic tech-death metal, as if it was following the trail that Vital Remains had taken and decided to be more organized, clear, and technical. Fortunately, it’s still a path that few have trodden, as most bands that have any sort of element of tech-death in the mix tend to be less and less melodic about it. For the third chapter of the story, which will in time be considered canon in the genre, Inferi has taken “The Path of Apotheosis,” glorifying the best parts of melodic metal: the unexpected, the quick, and the memorable.

With several members coming from the quality ranks of Enfold Darkness, Inferi’s 5-year recording hibernation has been for the best. The bar for quality has been considerably raised after the last record, immediately evident in leading track “Those Who From The Heavens Came.” Speedy twin-guitar riffing that could only have come from capable hands with at least 15 years of guitar experience ignites when hit with the gasoline supplied by the drumming of Jack Blackburn. Blackburn’s disciplined lines incorporate high-speed double-kicking, furious gravity blasting, and an enthusiastic embrace of the different timbres of every cymbal on his kit.

Guitarist/backing vocalist Malcolm Pugh’s formidable guitar solos run a gamut of styles, retaining fluidity and considerable expression despite their difficulty. Guitarist Mike Low contributes a flurry of riffs and solos with memorable flair, as well as bringing with him the riffing sensibility of a melodic death metal mindframe. Vocalist Josh Harrell is the most overlooked on the album, given the size of the hefty mix, although he covers the death growls and screams with a seasoned prowess. The lyrics revolve around fictional stories of elements of power being overthrown, the building of empires, and the sort of evil-sounding confrontations that you’d expect from a Diablo-type video game.

On that note, most of the music could very well work as a death metal soundtrack to any video game involving evil, with its coordinated incorporation of classical elements. Showing a pronounced symphonic flair on this album, tracks like “Wrath of the Fallen One,” “Prelude To A Perilous Fate,” and “Destroyer” are elevated to glorious heights. The presence of intricate clean passages provides just enough room for the symphonic elements to up the ante without dominating the music. “Destroyer” even incorporates a clean-sung choral interlude, which starts small and quickly becomes titan in size when the rhythm section enters. “The Ophidian Form,” just before it, contains war march-type sections sure to raise the hair on your neck.

The formidable Ralph Santolla of Deicide/Obituary fame makes a guest appearance on “A Betrayal Unforetold,” contributing the weakest solo on the album, which speaks volumes about the kind of guitar players that Pugh and Low are. Befitting of a landmark album, the overall production and mix quality is high, with superb clarity. All in all, “The Path of Apotheosis” is a pinnacle of modern melodic death metal. As its name implies in Latin, “The Path of Apotheosis” sees Inferi raised to a godlike level.

Highs: The total fucking grandeur in every element.

Lows: The triggered drums will touch off purists, although they are quite nuanced.

Bottom line: The pinnacle of modern melodic death metal.

Rated 5.0 out of 5 skulls
5.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)