Defunctus In Heresi
posted on 3/2006 By:
When was the last time a band described itself with the much-maligned ‘metalcore’ tag and turned out more palatable to your ears than you expected? I can’t remember either; ExInferis is something of a first for me that way. This album was actually released over a year ago, but measured against recent melodeath/core output like The Classic Struggle’s Feel Like Hell and Embrace the End’s Counting the Hallways to the Left it stands up quite favorably. In fact, while not reaching the heights of harmony-fueled headbanging broached by Detonation or Enforsaken, Defunctus In Heresi effortlessly bests a solid ninety or ninety-five percent of the modern melodeath/metalcore crossover market. These Luxembourg exports certainly blow The Black Dahlia Murder and what have you out of the water, anyway.
Everyone and their brother is sick to death of the ‘Maiden riff, clean chorus, breakdown, repeat’ songwriting formula and ExInferis’ first step towards remarkable quality is their refusal to rely upon such grating clichés. Defunctus In Heresi reminds me of Withered’s classy Memento Mori in its insistence on circumventing trite riffage, relying on a mix of Eucharist-style tremolo picking and vintage Stockholm melodic lines instead of the standard Gothenburg slice'n'dice. The musicianship here is also dead solid; drummer David lays down plenty of blastbeats and frantic death metal thrashing to underscore the active guitarwork and vocalist Fab’s cultured Swanö/Benton hybrid growl. The compositions themselves are a slightly more mixed bag. ExInferis hit a huge grand slam with the fittingly lengthy “Embers of Eight” (which features one of the more impressive melodeath riffs I’ve heard this year) and connect solidly with “Stabbed By the Cross” and the lumbering death groove of “Adonai.” Though there aren’t any really weak tracks here, ExInferis can get a little rambly with their compositions (“Selfmadegod,” instrumental “…Of Innocence and Vultures”), and the extended structures have an unfortunate tendency to take punch and memorability away from the otherwise powerful guitars.
This is another one of those albums that probably would have been a bona fide classic had it been released five years ago; as the metal world today stands, though, Defunctus In Heresi will slip through most people’s fingers and end up being cherished by only a select few. Don’t let that deter you though; while ExInferis might not be shattering any boundaries or reinventing the proverbial wheel, they’ve produced quite a debut full-length here and those with a taste for melodic death or metalcore’s less chunky-breakdown-laden end will invariably find at least a few riffs here that’ll stick in their heads for days.
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