Album Review

Inanimate Existence- Clockwork

One of my favorite modern death metal bands Inanimate Existence is releasing one of the best albums of the year “Clockwork”” this Friday May 10th.  The guys are also embarking on a wild tour this month and in June involving a plethora of bands: Eye Of Horus, Æpoch, Flub, Aethereus, and Warforged.  A bunch of these bands are playing select dates starting on release day, but at least Eye Of Horus is sticking around for like half of the tour.  Basically you’ll get a handful of different versions of this wild tour.  You can check out who is playing where with the tour poster below!

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Now onto the actual album….check out “Voyager”, “Desert” and “Ocean” before you read on any further.  My first experience with IE was 2016’s black sheep “Calling From A Dream”.  It’s considered that just because there’s a female vocalist.  That’s how I got into the band to be honest! I loved the tradeoff between a great female vocalist and a stellar male guttural….a legitimate beauty and beast.  I was blown away with the melodies, guitar leads, compositional writing technique (great transitions, nice clean sections….), drumming basically everything was perfect to me.  Not many people dig that album in their now 5 album (counting Clockwork) library.  Now fast forward to the album that dragged me in even more “Underneath A Melting Sky”, with a great concept about an old alchemist.  The band always has great artwork and well, there’s more visual proof looking at that beautiful cover.

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I think this is the California trio’s most mature album to date, and yeah don’t worry it’s still pretty heavy.  According to the band Clockwork is about dealing with the human tendency to struggle with the acceptance of mortality and our limited time on earth. It explores the questions we torment ourselves with during life along with the irony of how small and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of the universe. The title refers to the mechanisms of a clock and how every tick brings you closer to your doom.  Another great thing about this band is they refuse to go with death metal stereotypes. It’s not about gore, sodomy, and rape (and other various fucked up topics often growled about!). Actual thought goes into their art, and it shows.  It’s actually made me think about the topic, considering how many times i’ve listened to my copy of the album.  Justin Abraham (Inanimate Existence, Aepoch, A Loathing Requiem, Oubliette and a bunch of other bands I can’t remember off the top of my head) did the absolutely flawless artwork for “Clockwork”.  It’s the background photo on my cell phone, if you give two fucks.

Musically it’s a beast.  It’s moodier, maybe as moody as “Calling From A Dream”.  There’s more changes stylistically (distorted guitar to clean) which makes their music even that much more interesting.  Cameron’s guitar playing has been everything that’s expected, anything but bad.  He’s a tame guitarist who add lots of flavor and the right technique at the right moments.  He can play fast enough when he has too, and isn’t out to break a BPM record on his leads.  The great melodies he has written for his band is even more prevalent on “Clockwork”.  Take it all with a grain of salt as far as objectivity goes. It’s pretty obvious these guys are one of my favorites these days, especially Cam’s guitar work.

The tradeoff on growls is pretty awesome too.  Cameron’s lower set on vocals compliments their bassist’ Scott’s higher set of growls, and they are on point.  They are utilized perfectly on the right sections, and is super natural.  This is one of their most artistic and true to form albums.  The brutality is there, but again is by far their most mature and best overall offering.  Sure, their first 2 records are super heavy and were still finding their sound as a younger band.  Now with “Clockwork” and 2017’s “Underneath A Melting Sky” the band has forged even greater concepts and meaning behind their albums.

Inanimate Existence 2019 band photo

Left To Right: Ron Casey (Drums), Cameron Porras (Guitar & Vocals), Scott Bradley (Bass & Vocals)

Casey’s awesome drumming has been on display on a multitude of stellar albums.  This year, we heard it on one of my personal 2019 favorites his side project Continuum on “Designed Obsolescence”.  Again, we see how stellar his playing is outside of his death metal drumming.  His blast beats are great, and sneaks in lots of great fills on their most intense and wild sections.  With a drummer as talented as Ron, he also holds down a ridiculously good grove. He’s one of my favorites now in death metal and this album shows his diversity outside of the genre on their more progressive sections as well.

I saw the band live last summer on the wild tour with Fields Of Elysium and Last Of Lucy.  Bradley’s growls stuck out in a great way.  I saw how great of a bassist he is, and with the plethora of great bassists on their label The Artisan Era may get shoved in the background.  I personally love his bass playing, and he brings a lot of talent to the band’s demanding music not many people see.  Definitely a very underrated bassist without a doubt.

 

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