When a band mentions re-recording an album, there seems to be a general consensus that it might not be a good idea. After all, fans enjoy the material initially, even when said band can looks at all the things they could have done better if time, money, or technical capacity had been on their side. However, Inferi made the right choice in not only re-recording their album — titling it as The End of An Era (Rebirth) — but also in updating their sound to something cleaner and more cohesive. As Rebirth will attest, this sonic update is a feast for ears. The cleaner production and the additional elements makes Rebirth a fully actualized and fleshed out affair.
Although there will be inevitable comparisons between this re-recorded version and the original version, I have decided to not compare both albums. Instead, I will be focusing on the major overhaul Rebirth received to become one of the best tech death albums I’ve heard this year.
As far as prog death and tech death goes, I have spoken at length about the subject both on the podcast and on other writings, so Rebirth isn’t a matter of where it lies along that spectrum. What matters about this discussion is the elements embedded in this updated recording, and how Inferi took what was a great album and made it fantastic. The clean, crisp production showcases a melodic yet groovy sound that was missing from the original. This lends a fantastic progressive feel, as if embracing aspects along the spectrum and tuning them accordingly to what the album wants to convey. Musically, Rebirth is incredibly well-composed and orchestrated, where each note and instrumental part comes in at the right time, creating the right feel. In addition to the upgraded sound, it also employs heavy acoustics, which usually occur in the introduction to songs acting as a segue to the technicality Inferi is known for. It’s incredible how the music bursts with a sense of joy, as if what this album needed was just a shiny coat of new paint.
What particularly caught my attention was the first track, “The Ruin of Mankind,” and how ethereal it sounded. The low guitar tones and almost reel-like sound made it seem funerary until the heavy guitars, drums, and keyboards kicked in, clueing us in on what to expect. However, it felt like a celebration of sorts, a culmination of something that had been building up and needed to be unleashed among the masses. Of course, as a first-time listener, I was impressed with the variety of tones and textures that made Rebirth such a compelling album to listen to. This clearly shows me that Inferi deconstructed the original album and re-built it from scratch, creating a record that both stands out on its own musical merit and pays tribute to something that was already great in its own way.
All in all, Rebirth is an upgrade to what many would consider to be a classic of the genre. Although it didn’t reinvent the wheel that is tech death, Rebirth showcases some of the best elements that currently comprise its genre. For those curious enough to look into this album’s evolution, you should listen to it. No amount of words will prepare you for the sheer amount of joy to be found here.