October 18, 2019 Infected Rain – Endorphin (Album Review)
With a sonic style that lies at an intersection of many genres, from Nu Metal to Melodic Death Metal, Infected Rain have established themselves as a unique band within the Metal community. To continue to prove this fact, the band are set to present their newest album, Endorphin, on Friday, October 18, 2019 via Napalm Records.
Beginning with the August 2008 release of their debut demo, Infected Rain have spent the last eleven years evolving their sound, growing the reach of their music, and ultimately increasing their fanbase. With a unique approach to making Heavy Metal, the band have explored and evolved throughout their discography of four full-lengths, including 2017’s 86, as well as two EPs that included 2009’s Judgemental Trap.
Led by Lena Scissorhands on vocals, Sergey Babici and Vidick on guitars, Vladimir Babici on bass, along with Eugene Voluta on drums, the quintet hails from Chișinău, Moldova. Slated to head out on a European tour this fall with Italy’s Lacuna Coil and Switzerland’s Eulveitie, it’s prime time for the band to promote some new material.
Complete with ten tracks, Endorphin opens with “The Earth Mantra,” ripping and shredding with guttural vocals, up-tempo guitars with bizarre rhythm work, and sputtering drums that leave everything in the dust. The aggressive pacing of Scissorhands’ vocals fades into a quiet hum as her singing pans from side to side, overlaying a blizzard array of synth alongside whirring, melodic notes. Additionally, the low tone of the kick drum fills the song with a heartbeat before it enters with a wicked potency. Topically speaking, “The Earth Mantra” is a truly haunting look at how humanity’s legacy has left Mother Earth spurned despite all that she gives. This is dictated in such telling lyrics as: “By gluttony and greed our soul is devoured” and “We steal from you, neglecting your gift. What is the price to pay for this disaster?“
Moving on, “Black Gold” opens with a militaristic tone that is carried throughout with rhythmic tripling and blasting of the drums. The song soars with guitars that bounce and tread back and forth throughout, with sudden peaks of high notes, and angelic vocals that echo behind the shadows of the instrumental. Meanwhile, the mellifluous aspect of the track flows effortlessly with delicate vocals that sing “This is what they say” as the guitar picking ripples like stones across water before the track ends with a blasting wall of relentless force.
Taking a separate route from its predecessor, “Symphony of Trust” switches between softer, clean vocals and unyielding roars. Its guitars seem to have a tangible tether to Scissorhands’ vocals in both the rumbling, almost keyboard-like accompaniment and the chugging behind her solid growls. Whatever the case, it all comes together in the bit where her weightless singing plays choir to her harsh shrieks and the song fades away.
Then there is the brutal “Passerby” reaches through with fury in each lyric, especially with every declaration. Here, the guitars, bass, and drums work overtime to amp the metric speed up in the chorus. While it is less dynamic than its sister tracks, and times in at just over three minutes, “Passerby” is best, in that it arrives straight to the point and is a true headbanger. This flows into “Lure,” a whimsical ride with the guitar riffs to match, and staggering progress from Drummer Voluta. Much to this headbanger’s delight, Scissorhands’ vocals evoke the same effect as Angela Gassow’s in her Arch Enemy days, with a slightly elongated rasp and anger, and her unhinged pre-chorus is truly an off-kilter moment that defines the song and points the finger.
“Walking Dead” layers echoing pulses of notes, brief whispers of distorted guitar, and a repetitive melody in its introduction. The volume of the distorted guitars raises into the main portion of the track, reappearing in the chorus as raspy growls tear over top. In the verses, Scissorhands’ softer, hoarse singing whispers over the same melodic pulses as previous as she unleashes lyrics like, “From the top of my lungs and the bottom of my heart, I’m screaming I’m begging, I’m begging you to stop.“
Endorphin closes with its final track, “Storm,” and it enters with a low hum before bright frequencies burst up and a cybernetic synth beat dances over the top. A lush singing voice enters the melee, melding into a tango with the synth, and then a whispering cacophony of voices join in mimicry in the background. All this while a xylophone and a drum machine swirl the ambient universe of the track into a glorious menagerie of sound. And while “Storm” is devoid of any traditional elements of Heavy Metal, it flows with a delicate eloquence that enraptures the listener to its conclusion.
Throughout the album, Infected Rain speaks an undeniable truth that will shake listeners to their very core if they choose to listen. Scissorhands’ vocals are a rogue vessel for her poignant lyrics filled with strength and clarity no matter if their particular story is heartbreaking or cruel. The guitar work is extensive and explores different, odd cadences but can easily flow into prepossessing melodious work all by the hands of the band’s talented Guitarists Babici and Vidick.
In short, Endorphin is a majesty of riffs, genius prose, and free-flowing inspiration, and is fearless in embracing every inch of Infected Rain and their unique craft. For this, Cryptic Rock rates Endorphin 5 of 5 stars.