is the latest release by Infernal War
, a clash of 2 Polish extreme metal behemoths.
is perhaps more known for their thrashing style of black metal, often pounding relentlessly in the listeners' ears without much mercy. After 2009's Conflagrator
EP and with the announcement of a new split with fellow Polish black metal band Kriegsmaschine
, my hopes were high. Unfortunately, Transfigurations
turned out to be less than what I had expected and I have to admit, I was more than slightly disappointed. Perhaps an apt warning to fans of Infernal War
would be that this is not another Conflagrator
On the opening track of the split, Primal
Degradation, a slow atmospheric introduction slowly breaks into a slower-than-usual song (by Infernal War
standards), with the riffs almost reminiscent of Behemoth
's Ov Fire
and the Void
(both the riffs and the speed utilised on the song) - something not typical of Infernal War
. This song sees them slowly building up the atmosphere instead of their usual style of cutting the chase and diving straight to their adrenaline pumping speed.
Of course, if you don't dismiss them as such after only listening to the first 2 to 3 minutes or so, then you will get a small dose of the madness that is so closely associate to Infernal War
's style of music. In addition, growling and layered vocals are more prominent and frequent (something that I didn't really take notice on the previous releases of Infernal War
until after listening to this release). Into the Vortex
of Naugh continues with the cold atmosphere and the pace set up by Primal
Degradation, similar to the previous track, slowly building up the atmosphere and the climax before breaking up into a small section of chaos, almost like a cock-tease where the climax never really satisfies and fulfills the expectations.
Fortunately Incipit Chaos cuts most of the bullshit and goes straight to the point with a mid-paced riff, compared to the first two tracks where they attempted to build up a climax but eventually left the listener high and dry. This is perhaps the closest of the three tracks to the regular Infernal War
fare that one is used to (though still a far cry at that).
A personal highlight personally would have been Stormblast's insane and versatile style of drumming, as evidenced on 2009's Conflagrator
and the now-defunct project Thunderbolt
. On this front, it's yet another disappointment as the band seems to have slowed down and toned down ever so slightly on this release, and his trademark rolls on songs like Spears of Negation are now absent. Zyklon
's usual guitar wankery madness are also seemingly absent, and Warcrimer no longer spits out his lyrics with as much anger as he does on previous releases.
It might be blasphemy to say this, but somehow Infernal War
's contribution to this split (disappointingly I shall add) reminds me a lot of Behemoth
, from the pace of the songs, the drumming, the riffs, the atmosphere, down to Herr
Warcrimer's vocal execution and the layering of his growls and his usual trademark style. In short, the elements that are so staple in Infernal War
's craft and had initially caught my attention are now pretty much absent.
surprises the listener though on their first track, Onward
Destrudo, wasting no time and crushing listeners the moment the track starts off, perhaps due to their sped up pace compared to Infernal War
's side. The song carries on with what they have set up with 2005's Altered States of Divinity, but perhaps with more aggression and tightness in the execution of the song. However, Fear and Loathing in Gethsemane sees Kriegsmaschine
doing another - surprise! - Behemoth
, with vocalist M utilising half shout/growl vocals. I have to add that the song starts to get pretty boring from the midway point onwards, leaving me pretty shut off by the time the song approaches the end.
To conclude, I personally thought that this was a disappointment, having been a fan of Infernal War
's and Kriegsmaschine
's previous works. If you are new to Infernal War
and are going to judge their abilities based on this split, I would recommend listening to 2007's Redesekration
or 2009's Conflagrator
EP instead. Ditto for Kiregsmaschine, with 2005's Altered States of Divinity. Listening to those records again never felt so fresh before.