Infant Annihilator - The Elysian Grandeval Galèriarch
Stream on YouTube Early.
Preorder on IndieMerch or iTunes
It’s been a long, patient four years to hear from the beloved symphonic deathcore group Infant Annihilator. After being strung along, wondering if we’d ever hear anything from the band again after the release of The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution back in 2012, and the departure of vocalist Dan Watson, we finally have in our hands a new piece of perfectly constructed, demonic deathcore. The Elysian Grandeval Galèriarch preorders happened to ship out this past Friday, July 22nd and I was lucky enough to get my copy the next day. This album will be familiar to IA fans, but is a lot better produced than TPLOP. Aaron Kitcher and Eddie Pickard decided on Dickie Allen as their replacement for Dan Watson, and his vocal effort exceeds all expectations. His screeches are terrifying: just listen to the long dragged-out scream of the band’s name at the end of the album.
The Elysian Grandeval Galèriarch or as the band and fans around the world have begun to call it, the “EGG,” starts out very similar to the opening track of the last album, “New Born Porn.” Right off the bat with “Unholy Gravebirth,” you can hear what sounds like a crying baby. Then it coughs, and goes straight into Allen’s unique tunnel-throated high screams. Pickard’s guitar riffs and Kitcher’s crushing double bass drums cut through the creepy ambiance to remind you this is still Infant Annihilator, perched at the top of the symphonic deathcore food chain. The song is one of my personal favorite tracks on the record. It’s a perfect opener to showcase Allen’s vocal capabilities, reassure fans, and greet newcomers.
“Crucifilth” shows that Infant Annihilator can pull off just about any style of metal. From the slower fight riffs towards the end of the track that you typically find in more downtempo/beatdown deathcore to the harder chugging, Pickard can shred just about any type of song on his guitar (if that wasn’t already made clear in his work with Black Tongue). Adding a fight riff towards the end of the song made me actually question whether the band was trying something new or showing off their brutality. I mean with a track name like “Crucifilth” you really shouldn’t expect anything but absolute filth considering these guys are one of the top runners in modern deathcore. This album proves they are worthy of this spot even after four years with no material.
I’m not even sure where to begin with “Motherless Miscarriage” other than how it was a single we received about a month before the album that had a video that pushed some NSFW boundaries. The song had to grow on me, and I was upset with the single because of the length of the track, so I didn’t really give it the full shot at first. Watching the band’s vocal diary episodes on YouTube made me love this track a bit more because the low snorts and pig squeals were kind of a joke. The fact that they made it to the final cut of the album is amazing, and if you can get over the shortness of the track, it’s pretty cool. Near the end of the track is a clip from Robert Egger’s The Witch, being Caleb’s final words, praying for “his lord’s embrace,” in some way continuing the theme of their debut. The track is nonstop chaos, so choosing it for a single was good to show off other techniques that Allen brought to the table before release.
“Baptised, Bastardized, Sodomized” starts with an insane solo from Kitcher but nothing short of what you’d expect from an Infant track. The rest of the track is a very dark and dreary sort of hymn. Around the 1:50 mark it almost sounds like there is a guest feature on the track, but it’s just an extremely low guttural from Allen that resembles his part on “Porcelain Whore” by Enterprise Earth. Whether or not the rumors that IA programs their drums are true, the kick drum speed is incredible on this track. It segues perfectly into “Beyond the Kingdom of the Wretched Undying” and its amazing guitar solo. By now, quality is what we expect from Infant Annihilator.
“Beyond the Kingdom of the Wretched Undying” is one of a lot people's least favorite tracks on the album because it clocks in at a whopping seventeen minutes. It’s also split into four parts. I believe the song is a masterpiece, presented like a storybook with Allen introducing and closing out each piece. Seventeen minutes may be the longest track in deathcore as a whole as well, but the features on this track are amazing for many reasons. Not once in my life did I believe I would be able to hear Tyler Shelton (Traitors) on a symphonic track because my ears have become used to hearing him in a very slow, sludgy context on his own records. If anything, I would have expected Pickard and Kitcher to pick him for a track with Black Tongue. He actually fits really well and it makes me want to hear him do more in this style. Guest features don’t stop there though: this song alone also features Bryan Long (Dealey Plaza, Allen’s old band), Dillon Becker (AnimalFarm), and Chris Whited (King Conquer). Each offer their own unique style to each chapter, keeping things fresh. Somehow, the song doesn’t feel overdone or too long which is typical of longer tracks.
“Soil The Stillborn” was the first single released around the time that Allen was announced for IA. Although I overplayed it for myself, there was nothing that took fans by surprise quite like “the cradle rocks as the wood begins to splinter” the first time we heard it. This track is still nothing to skip over regardless of how many times you’ve heard the song. Part of me wishes the album ended with “Soil The Stillborn” because if you had the album digitally it would always end with Allen’s guttural of “new born porn,” which would loop into the first track of The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution. It made me laugh pretty hard the first time I noticed that happened. I also felt like they released this song first because they referenced quite a few tracks on TPLOP including but not limited to “Torn From The Womb” which was easily my favorite track on Infant’s debut.
Once “Soil The Stillborn” wraps up you are tossed into a seventy second instrumental track, “Paedophilic Ultimatum,” that almost makes you miss those instrumental filler songs from the debut record. It is cool that most of the interlude tracks here have vocals, with the exception of this and the twelve-seconds long “Neonatalimpalionecrophiliation.” Sections of this track were included in one of the vocal diary videos that were posted on YouTube. It's a bit of a breather after the constant filth and chaos up to this point on the album, getting you ready for the second half.
It begins with a beautiful track titled “Neutered in Utero,” which had some of the most remarkable sections of the album. It’s a bit faster vocal-wise, especially once you hit the ending of the track where the vocal beats-per-minute reach Attila speed. This song was a prime example of being blown away constantly through the remainder of the album, along with another section at the end like “Motherless Miscarriage” with dark and eerie sounds before the next track kicks up. I can’t exactly place on my finger what made “Neutered in Utero” stick out the most among the second half of the record, but I’m sure anyone will feel the same way. It set the bar pretty high for the last two songs before the ending instrumental track, but it was only raised from this point on. Usually once a record hits its halfway point you start to see the effort drop or the amazing tracks tend to stop appearing and the boys in Infant Annihilator made sure that wasn’t the case with this one, making sure every playthrough of the album is enjoyable for the diehard fans. This track was the point in the album in my first playthrough that made me certain that I was okay with Allen replacing Watson and decided that Watson was a better fit for his band, Enterprise Earth and Allen actually fit better for Infant Annihilator because of his vocal range, which is something that even took me by surprise because I still to this day rave of TPLOP.
“Pelt of Innocent Flesh” is track number nine of eleven and it makes sure you’re still on board for the remainder of the ride because if not it will sure as hell lift you right up. Pickard drops an amazing instrumental on this track and easily one of his highlights of this album making these a very enjoyable track. “Pelt of Innocent Flesh” is around seven minutes in length along with the next track “Blasphemian” and it seems like the perfect length to have to keep you on board and have a heavy medium between the length of “Beyond the Kingdom of the Wretched Undying” as it’s not being told in the same way. It has some very standout points such as Kitcher’s drumline throughout the entire track. It seems as if Kitcher really hit it home here coming in perfect sync or so it felt with both Pickard and Allen’s parts on the song, however the instrumental is great but is blown out of the water almost instantly by the next track. This is usually the point in the album the first time you give it a gander that you say, “yeah this is almost over” and get almost sad until you remember you can listen to it all again, once you finish that sense in your brain you can listen to the most beautiful breakdown of the entire album considering there is two and get hyped for the last track and what it has in store for your anus.
“Blasphemian” is an absolute beauty of track for the way Pickard and Kitcher perform, not to mention the sections of the track that we heard Allen record in the vocal diaries that finally fall into place amongst the beautiful instrumental. “The stench of feces and fertile flesh” and more of the pig snorts from “Motherless Miscarriage” are easily the biggest highlights of the song lyrically. Allen drops a guttural that is at least a solid ten seconds about three quarters through the track that actually made me go back the first time I listened and hear how disgusting and brutal it was twice. “Blasphemian” is a perfect example of how to end an album with a banger with Allen’s brutal guttural of just the words “Infant Annihilator” over a really sludgy guitar and drum combo delivered by Pickard and Kitcher that makes you ecstatic to be able to say these guys are back and hopefully for good.
Allen makes the departure of Watson almost needed sadly, as this album is a constant banger in comparison to the debut which had a few here and there but felt like mostly fillers. Kitcher and Pickard have proven themselves yet again with the absolute destruction of their instruments in this record and it really leaves not much more to the brain than needed. Infant Annihilator is back, and better than ever which is amazing to be able to say that we have the unique voice in the deathcore genre back. If you didn’t listen to The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution but want to start here, do it. Anyone who is sleeping on Infant Annihilator has probably been living under some form of a rock for the past four years but it’s about time to wake up and inhale the fumes of straight chaos and destruction. Putting this CD in your car might actually light it on fire so do it with discretion. Allen stated in an interview a few weeks ago that we may eventually see a tour, so with that comment I will sit here and cross my fingers and wait anxiously for another announcement while listening to The Elysian Grandeval Galèriarch pretty much on a loop.
- Dakota G.