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Review

Inanimate Existence – Clockwork Review

Band: Inanimate Existence
Album: Clockwork
Label: The Artisan Era
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Location: United States
Release Date: May 10th, 2019

Inanimate Existence is a three piece technical death metal known for blending an ethereal progressive tone with devastating technicality. Based out of California, they’ve been active 2011, with 4 full length albums and this fifth, appearing just over the horizon. Inanimate Existence has been very active since their inception in 2011, and has toured with some of the best in the genre, and seen a large amount of publicity both good and bad. With several singles out, and this album looming around the corner with a full tour set up to support the release, Inanimate Existence are aren’t showing any signs of relenting in their pursuit to carve a name for themselves.

The album begins with vicious, high paced riffs in the title track; “Clockwork”. A bombardment of dense, technical riffs, reminiscent of Decrepit Birth, or Later Death, ushers in the track. But underlying the Distorted Cacophony of riffs is a layer of clean guitars with an airy, ethereal tone to them that seems to poke out at opportune moments, and fades back into the background as a subtle din when the leads and melodic riffs take their spotlight. As the album continues on, this same formula pervades throughout. The eerie, chordal, almost ‘Jazzy’ cleans having a spot in every song. For any guitar lovers, this album will definitely be a stand out, as the guitar work is clearly the star of the show. Beyond the progressive influence of the cleans, there are shredding leads sprinkled all throughout. And Rhythms that will pummel the listener between technical slam riffs and melodic, groove oriented segments.

Asides from the guitars, vocals are very much the next focal point of the album. Those who follow the ‘no clean singing’ philosophy will be happy. The entire album is filled with nothing but low registered guttural growls, reminiscent of Continuum, Archspire, or again, Decrepit Birth. The lyrics are thematically based around the human concept of mortality, and ever looming death; hence the album title; ‘Clockwork’. While if I’m being honest, the vocal work isn’t anything outstanding or groundbreaking, it fits the music well, and is no crutch on the quality of the music. I’d very much consider the vocal work to be one of the albums strengths.

The main weakness of this album I’d have to comment on is the production style. While some may enjoy the ‘raw’ tone, I feel this style of music doesn’t call for this tone, but rather a more polished style, where every note from the lead playing is audible. The bass tends to be almost nonexistent outside of clean breaks and bridges. And the rhythm guitars just didn’t have a ‘bite’ or ‘punch’ that I think would be suiting of the music, but rather sounded muddy and incoherent at points. But on the other hand, if the band wanted a raw tone, They didn’t overdo it and make an album that sounds like it was recorded through a potato, the album still sounds coherent and well produced overall.  

Overall I’d have to label ‘Clockwork’ as a very original take on technical death metal. There are some extremely interesting elements of prog laced all throughout the album that don’t infringe on what this album is at its core; tech. Some of my favourite songs I’d like to single out are: ‘Ocean’, ‘Voyager’, and ‘Desert’. Being a big fan of their previous release; “Underneath a Melting Sky”. This album has been on my radar for some time, and  can say it’s very much a suitable follow up that won’t disappoint established fans, and I can see it drawing in a large number of new fans.

Rating: 7.5/10

Tracklist:

  1. Clockwork
  2. Voyager
  3. Apophenia
  4. Desert
  5. Solitude
  6. Diagnosis
  7. Ocean
  8. Liberation

Total Playing Time: 40:51

Click here to visit Inanimate Existence’s Bandcamp

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