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Inner Sanctum - "Provenance" (CD/EP)

Inner Sanctum - "Provenance" CD/EP cover image

"Provenance" track listing:

1. Agent of Chaos (3:38)
2. Quarantine (2:43)
3. Human Disregard (3:38)
4. Eye of False (3:32)

Reviewed by on January 16, 2010

"'Provenance' is the first EP to be released by India’s Inner Sanctum, but its production and musicianship resemble a group that has nailed down its sound and is ready to head off on a world tour."

Heavy metal has managed to spread to nearly every corner of the world, but some places are a little more behind than others. Countries like India are just starting to build up their metal scenes and have yet to join the likes of Norway or Sweden when it comes to pumping out high quality bands. Showing up late to the party isn’t a bad thing in this instance though, as it means the bands have a lot of catching up to do and a lot more to prove. “Provenance” is the first EP to be released by India’s Inner Sanctum, but its production and musicianship resemble a group that has nailed down its sound and is ready to head off on a world tour.

Inner Sanctum is anchored in death metal, but the music is set free by a high energy dose of thrash to act as a counterpoint to the brutal death growls. The combination leads to songs that make the audience want to actively move around and actually go do something, as opposed to just silently banging their heads to the beat. There are a few meanderings into the more melodic side of death metal as well, giving an incredibly well rounded feel for so short a release.

The deep growls found on “Provenance” easily bring to mind some of the earlier works by melodic death titans Opeth, although the vocal delivery is more coarse and raspy. Each well placed scream is throaty and deep, sounding like they are coming from the core of the vocalist, which makes the vocals more compelling and gives them a bigger presence in the music. Individual lyrical lines are alternated between long drawn-out growls and shorter grunts to prevent repetition.

While “Agent of Chaos” and “Quarantine” are the high energy thrash monsters, “Eye of False” goes in a more atmospheric direction. The song creates a sense of urgency and impending disaster in the listener through the quick guitar riffs and alternating drum patterns. Opeth is again seen as a clear influence as the drumming nearly leaves death metal behind completely and heads into a heavily jazz influenced territory that takes the song to a whole new level. The guitar work refuses to be outmatched, going melodic when necessary to complement the song and then heading back into metal insanity when it’s time to resume the head banging.

“Provenance” is a tight and superbly produced debut release that is all the more stunning because it was crafted without the support of a large network of like-minded musicians to immediately draw upon. The expert blending of thrash with melodic death metal sounds like something that would come from a metal super group instead of a new and unknown band.

Highs: High energy thrash mixed with superb melodic death metal.

Lows: Bass gets a little lost in all the harsh growls and guitar acrobatics.

Bottom line: A high energy and thrash based melodic death metal EP with vocals that bring to mind early Opeth.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)