Infamous have delivered us yet another split with a weaker but by no means incompetent band. Winter Darkness provide the almost filler this time on Symbols of Scarlet Revenge, playing somewhat generic, riff salad black metal that doesn’t really go anywhere special on this split has promise if they could unite the various parts together in order to express something greater than merely “We actually play black metal, we wrote riffs, they’re not random, and our music is not that so bad that it will make the Death Metal Underground editor press a power drill into his skull.”1 In their defense, Winter Blackness use RAC-like drumming, and songs that conserve sneering tension that sometimes resolves on “Demons of Winter Blackness” and leaves you wishing the band would explode on “Frozen Nocturnal Blood”. A slow burning match that burns out into darkness rather than lighting a fire is not the best way to conclude a record. At least Winter Darkness are way more aggressive than Gratzug’s half of the Infamous / Gratzug split.
Infamous’s half of Symbols of Scarlet Revenge is what people came here for. Noticing the NSBM influences of Winter Blackness, Infamous chose to again emulate the band they shared half of a split with. As usual, Infamous upstaged their mates. Here, Infamous uses Nécropole‘s riffing (“Le Ver Immonde” on “Ricordare e Insorgere”) to construct an aggressive, melodically flowing Gorgoroth style songs with the atmospheric and hardcore influences of Ildjarn-Nidhogg. The RACish rhythm section gives a new lease on life to these melodies, allowing them to be appreciated in a new context.
Symbols of Scarlet Revenge is worth the cheap price on cassette or the higher-fidelity, CD redbook quality FLAC from Eremita Prouzioni’s Bandcamp page when compared to all the other crap that has come out so far this year. Keep in mind that being the among best of 2017 thus far so far is not such a high honor; Infamous’s studio albums along with Kshatriya‘s Vsque ad Sidera Vsque ad Inferos from the same Bandcamp page are a much worthier purchases of course as is the Nécropole demo compilation CD. However, it is always great to hear Infamous successfully competing utilizing different black metal riffing styles.
1Warning: Do not try trepanation to get that brain-damaged, drooling high of smoking potent marijuana after chugging hard liquor combined with the existential stupid bliss of acid. A few ex-hippies attempted to trepan themselves in back in the seventies and the passage of time did not go so smoothly for their logical thinking skills or skull structure. Poke them in the head to see what happens!