Infamy

Infamy

The Blood Shall Flow

Mercenary

From beyond the realm of death itself, Infamy brings the masterstroke of The Blood Shall Flow. It’s a re-release with rare demos, boasting the contributions of deceased vocalist Joshua Jagger Heatley. I can’t help but tell you that it adds an extra weight to his twisted-ass lyrical sickness, roaring from beyond the stygian spheres and all. You just think, damn, he really means it here. It kinda makes for a vaguely unsettling listening experience. The whole album takes on a seance quality, or maybe like the voices from beyond the grave in Kurosawa’s Rashomon.

What is it? Old style Massacre/Suffocation/Cannibal Corpse style death metal done with punishing precision and efficacy. Full of nostalgic moments like the vocal Tardyisms and screeching/flailing solo guitar solos a la Alan West on “Bodily Disembowlment.” And Heatley turns in such a great performance on this record, his depths of hell growls, gurgles and intestine-shredding shrieks really are the high points of The Blood Shall Flow. Full of conviction and power, spitting on melody and harmony, we lost one of the good ones here. True, it’s not exactly groundbreaking or any of that nonsense, but I’m really glad this exists in the public consciousness rather than being one of those mythical lost records. Considering the material first surfaced in 1997, I’d say the record has aged well and the purity of the material isn’t diluted by any hasty bandwagon jumping. The Blood Shall Flow reminds me of the records that forced me to become a death metal lifer in the first place. And I’d say that’s a pretty fitting tribute to Josh.

“Onslaught Of Carnage” has some great downtuned thrash blitzkrieg riffage, with Celtic Frost vocals bellowing dire threats all over it. Tasty. “Cranial Implosion” is a shuddering fuzzed-out beast that threatens to envelop you and pierce you all at once. It ain’t sex but it sure is violence. “Putrid Infestation” wouldn’t sound out of place on Slowly We Rot, and the vocals are turned up, extra nasty and cavernous. =ECMass Cremation=EE has a doomier vibe, with a slowly advancing riff, giving way to all out carnage, and a very raw vocal. “Cryptobiosis” closes the album proper off on a suitably head-drilling note. But wait, there’s more. After the album proper, there’s the five-song demo “Count The Dead.” I like the demos more, surprise, surprise; it’s a different, more ragged and messy sound, with more negative space and room to breathe in the stench. Plus the guitars are more discernible, the drums are louder and the vocals are a lot more individual, sounding more like a dying gasp than a guttural roar. And they usually manage to throw out one catchy as fuck riff per song. My favorite of the demos is “Count The Dead,” with some nice double bass work, and a shit scary ambient break. I’m shocked that this didn’t end up on the full album. A tasteful memorial, in all.

World War 3/Mercenary Music: http://www.ww3music.com

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