Released: 2017, Self-released
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
There’s no shortage of tech-death dexterity in Canada, that’s for sure. From the legendary Gorguts and Cryptopsy to the more contemporary Beyond Creation and Archspire, the Great White North has produced some of the genre’s most celebrated and awe-inspiring acts.
Winnipeg’s Inverted Serenity, however, have largely flown under the radar. The band’s first two album were self-released and now so too is their third and latest effort. Not sure how come these guys haven’t managed to scare up a label deal – perhaps they opted against going that route to work under their own terms – because they’ve certainly got the chops to go up against more established bands whose sound isn’t quite so accomplished.
Other than falling under the “tech-death” umbrella, which has grown pretty wide, Inverted Serenity don’t much resemble their better-known Canadian brothers in arms musically or aesthetically. Theirs is neither the proggy spasmodics of Gorguts or Cryptopsy nor the synapse-frying mathematical shred of Archspire. Instead, it’s a mélange of more melodic, groovy death metal with a hearty splash of thrash, all played by very adept musicians – a la The Black Dahlia Murder or Decapitated (whose future, indeed their freedom, is very much in doubt given recent events). For a convenient Canadian marker, they would seem to fall closest to Beyond Creation, which isn’t a bad spot to be.
Inverted Serenity aren’t afraid to inject melody and hooks into their racket, making it reasonably accessible by tech-death standards, though bassist/vocalist Tomas Ingham’s wolverine growls - and the backing screams of guitarists Drew Peacock and Marco - cancel some of that out. Still, as involved and complex as tracks like “Dead Dialectics,” “Mitral Genesis” or “Grave” are, they do possess an element of catchiness. It’s still a long, long way from verse-chorus-verse convention – though the Pantera-like “Cornerstones” does have something of an actual chorus and a splash of clean vocals – but it does provide something to grab onto in the tumult.
And there is still plenty of tumult and technicality to be had here. “We Who Wander” goes off on a black metally tantrum, the aforementioned “Cornerstones” and the otherwise spastic Paragon” offer jazzy forays and “Mechanical Gods” goes full-on prog a la latter-day Death. “Lunar Cradle,” the album’s one genuine epic, just keeps building and growing more agitated over its nine-plus minutes. The short Spanish-guitar “bonus” outro “Mountains Of Stoke” that follows seems like an unnecessary afterthought and might have gone better just stuck in the middle of the album somewhere as an interlude, allowing “Cradle” give it a truly grand finale.
As Spectres Wither is another winning effort from a band that should be getting more attention than its seems to up to this point. At least the album is getting something of a PR push – hence this review – that will open the eyes, or ears, of more prospective fans. Because there is a lot to like here.