By now, metal’s passionate love affair with H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos has resulted in countless homages of non-Euclidean atonality and angular dissonance. As a result, it has become a challenge for a band to stand out with its particular contribution. Where its impressive 2014 EP, Spiral from Spacetime, soared with kinetic energy and a sense of wonder, on Into the Void Infinite Earths spirals and spins with uncanny elegance and weaves a tale of descent into madness while eschewing contemporary go-to metal horror tropes.
Progressive and technical variants of death metal are evident throughout the album. Guitars spewing new riffs and lead variations at often dizzying pace, never overstaying their welcome or regressing into unnecessary noodling. In spite of the barrage of dynamic shifts and stop-on-a-dime moments, the musical narrative stays cohesive until the very end of the 27-minute run-time.
Special kudos goes to the organic production which provides sufficient air between instruments, while the dry crunch of the guitars, meaty audible bass and natural drum sound show the benefits of avoiding the artificial gleam and compression that is often endemic to the sub-genre Infinite Earths represents.
“Act 1: Into the Void” starts off the journey through the Dreamlands with an ominous acoustic intro and quick dramatic buildup before the clangor of bells signals blastoff. The swirling guitar play of their debut EP makes a winning return with the support of nimble bass lines and confident drumming. Towards the end of the song, clean vocals begin to emit eerie harmonies that hint at the mental landscapes the album will be heading, followed by disorienting guitars and undulating bass paving the way for the unexpectedly battering transition to “Act 2: Amalgam of Madness,” where the band intersperses blasting thrills with bouncy chord progression and aesthetics recalling Between the Buried and Me. At the 4:30 mark, vocalist Josh “Maz” Mazorra channels the crooning flair of Greg Puciato, while the end of the song surprises with fading notes that evoke oxygen-deprived memories of Disco Volante-era Mr. Bungle. Although such band associations are clear, Infinite Earths never feels derivative, instead carving its own zigzagging path with singular purpose and a clear destination.
“Act 3: Chaotic Good” dedicates its run-time to bludgeoning the remnants of the listener’s sanity to mush, in time for the arrival of “Act 4: The Whirling Door” and the return of the vocal harmonies from beyond the veil to further disorient before the chugging early punches in “Act 5. Grave New World” (note especially the rapid cymbal strikes accentuating the seeming simplicity of the breakdown). The blanketing caress of gravity is reversed as of the 4:20 mark when the slapping base lines and epic lead harmonies levitate the bruised mind and body of the listener into blissful, liberating resignation where the porous veneer of sanity finally breaks and lets the sweet oblivion of madness ooze to our reality.
On Into the Void, Infinite Earths excites with effortless creativity and an operatic vision inviting to a dizzying ride full of marvel and madness. In this case, the loss of sanity is a price worth paying.