As I prepped for this review, I came to the realization of just how many bands there are that have used the name Infest. The two I am most familiar with are the influential powerviolence band from the US and the French death metal/grindcore band that released Moshroom a few years back. A quick Metal Archives search reveals there are plenty more acts that have either used or are still using the name, including Serbian death metal/thrash band Infest who is the subject of this article. They’ve been around since 2002 and this year’s Cold Blood War is their fourth full length. This is the first time I had come across their material, and it offers a familiar blend of fast paced riffs and gruff vocals. It may not be the type of album that’s going to stand out as one of the best things you’ll hear this year, but if you’re in the mood for material that doesn’t let up and isn’t weighed down with pointless filler this one is worth a go.
Following a very short intro track, Infest launches into fast paced, heavy hitting riffs and doesn’t let up until the album has come to an end. One area where the group definitely deserves credit is in their ability to offer technically proficient arrangements that don’t overstay their welcome, as the majority of the tracks hit the two to three minute mark. There’s no time for interludes or filler, as the instrumentalists instead focus on the meat of the material and throw riff after riff at the listener with some well-placed solos added into the mix. I’d say that Cold Blood War skews a little more towards the thrash side as they have that similar emphasis on speed and pull from some similar patterns as some of the classic bands in the genre, but there are moments where the tonality shifts toward a heavier death metal sound. Everything is performed well and with a great deal of precision, but the biggest issue with Infest’s material is that there aren’t quite enough moments that truly stand out from each other. It’s a rager from beginning to end which is why I’ve found myself coming back for repeat listens, but there aren’t quite enough individual riffs that truly stood out from the rest and that’s what kept this album from reaching its true potential.
Vocalist Zoran “Vandal” Sokolovic has the type of low pitched growl that I really like in fast paced death/thrash. Rather than going for a guttural growl, he has a much gruffer growl/scream that is enunciated in a way that makes it easy to pick out the lyrical content. It’s the type of pitch that comes blaring out of your speakers with the maximum of aggression, and Sokolovic doesn’t let up for a single second of Cold Blood War’s running time. His performance is one of my favorite elements of Infest’s material, as it’s consistently intense and in your face without becoming repetitive and I can always appreciate when the vocal work is rough but still easy to understand.
Some of the songs do blend together a bit and keep Cold Blood War from being one of the best examples of the death metal/thrash combination you’ll hear this year, but it’s definitely an above average one. If you’re in the mood for an album that will throw plenty of speed and aggression at you this one is still worth giving a listen, but I can’t help but feel that with a few more steps forward Infest could come back as a truly distinguishable band.
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