This past year started off with passion and promise but, once more it dropped us into a forsaken hellscape from which we imagined we would not escape. Despite the linger of doom and gloom across the globe, musicians did their best to lift our spirits through live-streamed shows, online meet-and-greets, and new music.
With 2021 coming to a close, our eyes and ears turn with optimism and hope to 2022, and in the spotlight, comes Moldovan heavy-hitters, Infected Rain. Formed in 2008 this progressive modern metal unit quickly became one of the most exciting, and most followed, new acts in the metal scene shortly after the release of their 2019 album “Endorphin”.
Utilizing the skills of multi-talented frontwoman Lena Scissorhands, Infected Rain has earned a worldwide following that not only hangs on their every track but, eagerly awaits their tours and any material they may dangle before us. Joined by the musical powerhouses that are Vidick (guitars), Sergey (guitars), Vladimir (bass), and Eugene (drums,) Infected Rain’s newest album “Ecdysis”, due to debut January 7th 2022, is sure to offer up more than its fair-share of ear-pleasing metal melodies especially with a title that means to shed old skin, as we are more than happy to shed off the previous year.
I’ll admit, it took me a few listens to truly appreciate this album but, the more I listen, the more I’m completely encompassed by the layers of technical skills, power, and musical genius that have been put into this album.
The introductory track “Postmortem Pt. 1” feels like a digital dreamscape. With eyes closed you can see the Tron-like landscapes and colours but, in that brief moment, with eyes closed and mind focused on the sounds around you, Lena approaches your ear and absolutely obliterates the fantasy.
Harsh vocals clash with soul-wrenching riffs and slamming drumbeats before offering a gentle caress. Lena’s softer voice comes in as a shock, despite anticipation and is mind-blowingly elegant against the madness of the music.
The rapid pace dictates the tale of lyrics through verses like “a man with dignity and virtue is running from the past”. The back and forth of fear and trauma is illuminated in a cataclysm of neck-snapping breakdowns and skillful songwriting that ignites the senses with macabre imagery.
“Fighter” comes in second as a hard hitter that’s slow but no less fueled by aggressive guitars and lyrical talent that keeps listeners focused. Mixed synth sound combined with brain-bashing drum work has this track urging you to fight from every angle. Well-placed calms and enchanting vocals are enticing, maintaining uniqueness from start to finish.
Tracks like “Longing” drop in with a bouncy mix of rhymes built with a sinister twist. The usage of synthesizers is powerful, allowing this track to standout through a combination of catchy lyrics and eccentric sound. The vicious aura persists with angst through ominous chords being plucked in odd, yet mesmerizing patterns.
Following up is “Goodbye” that once more erupts from the darkness through a flood of vocal ability and haunting melodies. A deep sorrow fuels the verses while the intensity of grief is amplified in the brilliant guitar work of Vidick and Sergey. Eugene’s skill mimics heavy raindrops against a concrete surface that adds another layer of depth to an already emotionally heavy tune.
Debuting on December 9th, Infected Rain released their music video for “The Realm of Chaos” feat. Heidi Shepherd from Butcher Babies. The thunder of shadowy bass rises like a skyscraper through Vladimir’s precision before the rupture of sound infects those that remain. This results in ghostly backing vocals, nail-biting guitar drops, and blood-curdling growls. The mix of Heidi’s haunting voice facing off against Lena’s jarring lows makes for a distinctive track that is both eerie and alluring.
Songs like “Everlasting Lethargy” and “These Walls” beat us with heavy drums and ethereal breaks that once more build upon the intricate layers of musical composition through passionate lyrical themes and technical skill. While songs like “Showers” and “November” better utilize the harshness of deepened growls and hair-pulling shrieks in a dance with head-banging musical synchronicity.
The beginning of the end starts with the heart-pumping track “Never The Same” that hits like a freight train. Lena’s vocals come at us with lethal force while feral riffs batter our ears. The skillful highs and lows, perfectly fit with the song’s pace, bring in a realm of intrigue and anticipation as I couldn’t quite place where the song would move to next, and each transition was a pleasant surprise. I quickly fell in love with the album’s use of electronics combined with musician skillsets that made the album not only unique but exceptional.
“Nine, Ten” offers a cascade of electronic pulse, and careful piano-like keys that echo like falling tears. Lena’s lighter vocals are on full display allowing her to display her vocal range not only in quick succession but, finally in full burst. The final track that rounds out the album is “Postmortem Pt. 2” that follows the tone of Nine, Ten before unleashing the fury upon us in a tremendous display of commanding skill and vocal range.
My preferences from the album go to Postmortem Pt. 1, Longing, Nine, Ten and Postmortem Pt. 2 but, it wasn’t easy to pick out a simple few. I thoroughly enjoyed the uncommon sound that each and every track from the album put forth, ensuring that Infected Rain’s ability to remain uncommon, and experimental rang through. There is truly something for every metal listener on this album; from ballad-lovers to mosh pit-mongers, with tracks that are sure to linger on the conscious and subconscious no matter if it’s the daydream or evening dream world you choose to inhabit.
Release Date: January 7th, 2022
Label: Napalm Records
1.) Postmortem Pt. 1
5.) The Realm Of Chaos feat. Heidi Shepherd
6.) Everlasting Lethargy
7.) These Walls
10.) Never The Same
11.) Nine, Ten
12.) Postmortem Pt. 2