British death metal veterans Ingested have been spewing out some of the sickest, nastiest death metal for over ten years now, and this year marks an important milestone for the band: the ten-year anniversary of their sophomore effort The Surreption. However, it hasn’t exactly been a year for much celebration, even if the Manchester foursome want to get out there. How, then, to best commemorate this experience from the comfortable confines of home while still doing justice to the album? Completely rerecord and reimagine the whole thing from the ground up, of course. Enter The Surreption II.
Not a sequel in the way that Colors II will be a sequel, The Surreption II serves to put a nice coat of polish on an album that, even according to the band themselves, needs a little help getting into the year 2021. Says vocalist Jason Evans, “We always felt that the songs on The Surreption were great but there was just something not right about the sound, it just kind of sounded small and there were some performances on songs we weren’t happy with. So, we needed to make everything bigger and better, and we feel that we’ve really achieved something special here.” The band, all of whom originally performed on the original Surreption, decided to make good use of the downtime thrust upon all of us by taking the time to carefully reimagine, rerecord and remaster every detail on the original album, to “bring you our second album the way we always wanted it to be.” Recorded in the midst of the pandemic, the band actually tracked all the guitars and vocals at their respective homes, with producer Nico Beninato providing production assistance over Zoom. Obviously being a new experience, remote recording can be a surreal experience, but the band maintain it was a “really odd but awesome experience.” The drums were recorded in Beninato’s studio in Palma de Mallorca, where the album was mixed and mastered. The recordings on the album aren’t the only thing that got a facelift, though. Even the album art was reimagined by original artist Colin Marks (and yes, in case you’re wondering, there is an Easter egg in there now).
The Surreption is an often-missed piece of Ingested’s discography, but with The Surreption II, the band seeks to change that. Listening to the original album, especially when you know what to look for, there are a lot of production aspects that don’t age very well. The guitars sound muddy and a little weak, the drums sound totally mechanical, and the vocal performance, while strong for its time, sounds dated ten years later. All of these relatively minor gripes are fixed on The Surreption II. The guitars have so much more bite to them, and you hear a lot more definition in the sound, as opposed to just muddy low end. The pinch harmonics in “This Disgusting Revelation” sound…well, disgusting; the riffs in “Crowning the Abomination” slice straight to the bone, and the overall performance seems much cleaner and crisper. The vocals got a much-needed performance update, and Evans does an awesome job of showcasing how his voice has changed and focused in the past ten years. The delivery is much stronger and clearer, with much more dynamic range: shrieking highs and growling lows replace the original overstressed vowel sounds that was very typical of the 2010’s but hasn’t aged that well in retrospect. The choice addition of ambient synths to “Manifesting Obscenity” makes the track seem like it was just written yesterday as opposed to ten years ago. Everything about The Surreption II serves to remind the world just what a great album The Surreption is. It just needed a little love and attention.
Ingested have a been on a roll of reworking their back catalogue, between The Surreption II and the recent remaster of their debut EP Stinking Cesspool of Human Remnants. As someone who really enjoyed last year’s Where Only Gods May Tread, the only real complaint I have with all this refreshing the band has been doing is that I just really want new music from them, but I’m sure that will be here in good time. The Surreption II is certainly not a waste of anyone’s time and effort: not the band’s for making it and not yours for listening to it.