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Insatanity - Hymns of the Gods Before

Hymns of the Gods Before
by Rob Stone at 03 August 2020, 4:28 AM

INSATANITY are a band that have consistently been releasing material since their formation in 1992. The fact that a death metal band has been around for that long is no small feat. What’s even more impressive is that they have had more member changes than can be counted on 2 hands and, while they have been releasing material consistently their whole career, “Hymns of the Gods Before” is their first full length album in nearly 25 years.  The only member present who was involved in the band's first album all those years ago is bassist/vocalist Chris Lytle. With a relatively new lineup, living up to their debut is going to be difficult, but judging by the grim, ominous looking artwork, and the tracklist on the album, I am expecting to hear something very promising.

The first track, “Seed of Baal”, doesn’t mess around. It starts immediately and frantically and has a very no-nonsense approach. It’s not trying to be high production, but avoids being a lo-fi production at the same time. I think this is what the old school death metal fans would call “raw”. The playing of all instruments is very classic, but the song is over so quickly you don’t even get time to take it all in before it’s gone.

A much groovier riff is introducing the second song, “Ashes of the Apostle”. Complete with pinch harmonic goodness, the song transitions into something almost melodic with its break before the verse. The drumming is absolutely relentless and the tempo and feel of the song changes so abruptly but at the same time, naturally. The alternation between high screams and death growls is carefully balanced. Mostly opting to use a high scream for the majority of the song just makes that guttural roar hit that much harder once it’s introduced. The bass accompanies the drums perfectly the whole way through the song right to the end, turn this one up loud and feel it.

The intro to “Whose Hand Embalms” is the strangest death metal riff I’ve heard in a long time. It almost sounds like it could be straight out of a 90’s punk song. But that feeling doesn’t last long as those double kicks are thrown into the mix. The riff immediately becomes something more monstrous and dissonant. Halfway through the song there is an incredible breakdown that just makes the urge to head bang irresistible. This is so far the most unique track of the album, taking so many elements from different places that I can hardly pay attention to specific sounds and instruments. I can just vibe to it and wish that I get to hear this live someday.

And here we are again, pure blast beats, crazy unpredictable tremolo picked riffs, manic screaming and demonic growling make up what we know as “Demons Within Creation”. The biggest problem that faces many death metal bands is that being fast and brutal all the time makes it difficult for the next song to be faster and more brutal. The pacing of this album is so good, subtly taking the listeners attention away from the feel of that first track, but without abandoning the atmosphere entirely. We are now back to a song that goes as fast as the speed of light and would not be out of place being blasted during a zombie apocalypse.

Picking up where the previous track left us off is “Upon the Ivory Throne”. The song contains all of those elements contained in “Demons Within Creation”, with some slightly more groove-oriented sections. But now that I’m aware of how they managed to pace the album thus far, I am more excited to hear where we go from here.

Starting out with a simple but effective breakdown, “Cross of Deception” gives us some breathing space. Before quickly cutting off circulation again by blasting into yet another berserk tune that makes me realize something important. Not only is this good death metal, it is memorable death metal. The riffs and rhythms that are contained within are memorable and catchy.  A very disorienting riff opens "Eidolon of the Blind”. It twists and turns and creates a sense of dissolution. The drums seem to be playing at random as the bass and vocals are floating around each other. This quickly becomes one of the tightest sounding sections of the album where the guitar plays a high tremolo picked riff over the crazed vocals and lightning quick drumming. The solo section is incredible. A simple melody that works as intended. It’s catchy and a very interesting change in the song, but does not deviate altogether.

The crushing intro of “Trail of Terror” just shows that this album will not let up even slightly. The riff is a highlight for the album and almost makes it seem like there will be a consistent song happening here. The reality is much like the rest of the album, impossible to predict. Every song on this album has impossibly fast sections to mosh to, but they also have impossibly heavy sections to head bang along to as well. This song is no exception as it changes on a whim to oppose the previous section every few bars.

Bonus tracks may seem like a thing of the past, but “When Satan Rules His World” is one on this album. And it certainly is a bonus, because I don’t want this album to end. It’s a continuation of the album and everything that’s good about it. There’s not much to say other than, it’s more good stuff on an already great LP.

All of the songs having a lot in common with each other may lead people to believe that the album is repetitive, however there is a reason why albums like this work so well. The parts of the songs move so quickly and so unpredictably that if there is a part of a song you dislike, by the time you realize it’s not your cup of tea, it’s already transitions to another section that you probably will like. It's such a fast-moving machine that you’ll fly through it and find at least one song that you love. Consequently, if there is a section that you do really like, it will be gone before you know it, which leaves you wanting more. Luckily the band have all those other EP’s that they’ve been releasing all these years.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Seed of Baal
2. Ashes of the Apostle
3. Whose Hand Embalms
4. Demons Within Creation
5. Upon the Ivory Throne
6. Cross of Deception
7. Eidolon of the Blind
8. Trail of Terror
9. When Satan Rules his World  \[Bonus Track]
Chris Lytle - Bass/Vocals
Vanessa Cordoba - Guitar/Vocals
Scott Zupet - Guitar
Ronnie Parmer – Drums 
Record Label: CDN Records


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