Unflesh – Inhumation

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Self-released
Released: 2021
Released: https://unflesh.bandcamp.com/album/inhumation
Band Websites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram | Youtube

Band line-up:

Ryan Beevers – vocals, guitars, orchestrations
Orin Hubbard – bass guitar
Jeff Saltzman – drums

Tracklisting:

1. Behold Nightfall
2. Vast Forest of Impaled Cadavers
3. To Renounce Flesh and Blood
4. Inhumation
5. Amongst Horrors Must I Dwell
6. Holocaust of Stars
7. The Sepulchral Depths
8. Dehumanized Legion

Review:

Founded in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Unflesh is a US extreme metal band. Their latest album, Inhumation – due for release in early April – follows their debut full-length, 2018’s Savior. The trio are former/existing members of outfits such as Solium Fatalis, Excrecor, and Aversed.

Unflesh vocalist/guitarist Ryan Beevers comments:


 “Inhumation delves into the concept of desensitization and losing one’s soul or losing one’s humanity so to speak. The title itself is used in a metaphorical sense, as the actual definition of the word “Inhumation” is the action or practice of burying the dead. For album purposes, the title is used on a more spiritual and emotional level. Each track on the album is a bit of a meditation on different aspects of the primary concept. When the listener gets to the last song on the album, the totality of the album will have taken form. I was extremely focused on binding together the riffs and lyrics to channel a certain atmosphere I had in my head initially when writing the songs. The goal was to create a more immersive listening experience. I think this goal is also reflected in how the album sounds and in the artwork. Everyone involved worked very hard on this record. We are looking forward to sharing this album with the world and to finally document the next step in the Unflesh sound with this second full-length album.”

Instrumental “Behold Nightfall” paints a calm, yet a suspenseful picture with approaches ranging from acoustic to atmospheric. The tension-building outro really gears things up for the lyric-laden seven songs that follow. “Vast Forest of Impaled Cadavers” introduces Ryan Beevers’ abrasive yet intelligible voice, which communicates a sense of raw human emotion on each of the eight songs. Boasting the most gnarly song title on the album, track two definitely lives up to its name with its graphic lyrics and. One can imagine travelling through the gruesome scene described by Beevers and depicted by the music.

Tempo changes throughout “To Renounce Flesh and Blood” bring the right amount of intrigue to the third number, the manner in which the vocal lines intermingle with the guitars creating some intensely dramatic segments.

Things really come together on the title track “Inhumation”, keeping things interesting and wrapping up the first half of the album. As with all other tracks (bar “Behold Nightfall”), track four features some pretty nifty riff work from Beevers. The interplay between electric and acoustic guitars works especially well here in combination with the lyrics and the way in which the vocal lines are delivered.

The black metal influence during “Amongst Horrors Must I Dwell” is unmistakably strong, with its prolonged buzzing guitars intermingled with blast beats, followed by a beautiful acoustic ending that brings a mood that contrasts with the rest of the song. “Holocaust of Stars” lends some of the techniques used in track five, but its strength manifests when the atmospheric elements 
counter the harsh guitars and heavy drumming, while also bringing another level of intensity to Beever’s vocals.

The rhythm section (courtesy of Orin Hubbard and Jeff Saltzman) dominates “The Sepulchral Depths” for the most part, which really works to communicate the themes highlighted in track seven. There is plenty going on in this song, the music often fastest and busiest while the lyrics/screams are delivered, adding a lot of rich layers, really showing off Unflesh’s technical ability. Last but certainly not least is the nine-minute-long “Dehumanized Legion”. A few stand-out moments in the several tracks before are re-invented here, to devastating effect. Some clever mirroring of riffs and vocal lines can be heard here — not for the first time on the record, but it seems particularly purposeful during the grand finale.

While the vocals are a force to be reckoned with and complement the instrumentation, they are not the most varied. The same tone of voice is used repeatedly throughout Inhumation’s forty-six minutes, which feels a little safe, but does the job of adding to the sinister vibe the music already carries. This is, however, a cohesive follow-up to Unflesh’s debut Savior, largely favouring storytelling and atmosphere over breakneck speeds, and avoiding the sophomore album slump. If you’re a fan of bands such as Naglfar, Recovation, and Tribulation, this one is for you.

Review by Kira Levine
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