The cantankerous Innumerable Forms have finally made an LP. Punishment In Flesh comes a good eleven years after the band's inception, which makes sense: they release LPs at a speed worthy of a band with powerviolence/hardcore origins. Taking influence from the Scandanavian death metal of the early '90s, they seek to create a portal to that time through raw, plainly stated dissonance, going back to what gave the genre its rough edges.
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It’s throwback, thank you very much. Innumerable Forms made this record with a very particular era of death metal in mind, eschewing new genre fusions and modern recording techniques for the raw, unabated sound of the ‘90s, where everything hurt and nothing was ok. It’s a piece of filth, basically, the growls untethered and the guitars ferocious, a record of riff and bile.
They know their source material, I’ll give them that: the record opens with a slam of doom before exchanging crushingly slow riffs for melodic riffs with squeaky harmonics, the whole thing bait-and-switching ‘til I’ve all but lost my mind, incrementally climaxing to aplomb. It’s dissonant but hooking, the opening few tracks acting as a kind of seamless song cycle of resolute stuck-in-the-mud slow and deathlike blastbeat mania.
It’s weird to be saying this about a record that feels so stringently in tribute to twenty years ago, but ‘Punishment In Flesh’ is one of the year’s best metal records, a resilient record that knows what it wants to do and sticks to it, creating the feeling of old records in all corners death, doom and crust: it’s repetitive, staunch and disdainful, putting its listener through the ringer with little done to make it palatable. It's plain old heaviness, and it slays.
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