Moldova’s finest export Infected Rain are back with their fourth studio album and follow up to 2017’s impressive “86”. Following in the footsteps of Jinjer while the door is open, they’ve been snapped up by Napalm Records making “Endorphin” this major label debut. It’s been a long and steady rise for female vocalist Lena Scissorhands, bassist Vladimir “Vova” Babici, sticksman Eugene Drummer alongside guitarist duo Sergey Babich and Vidick Irain since their 2009 self titled debut. The cover art is a subliminal message. The heart being massaged by the hands being our planet.
The DJent drops of the intro riff of “The Earth Mantra” set against a backdrop of thunderous kit work make it an instant body moving track that squeals and chugs while declaring the parasitic nature of a humanity destroying the planet. Lena Scissorhands vocals are varied and showcase a more impressive range than we’ve perhaps given her credit for in the past. This is particularly the case during an ambient mid song break that gives her gloriously accented English vocals a bit more of an opportunity to breathe. “Black Gold” has a similarly thunderous start with aggresive riffs before the synths add an extra dimension of texture to the sound. The epic melodic bridge is a moment of clarity before once again being dragged to the depths of their heavier material in style. Building from some synths “Symphony of Trust” speaks of depression and anxiety around love without trust while giving more contrast between the clean and unclean vocals with the melody and big chorus making it an obvious single with sing-a-long ability. It maintains the darkness of atmosphere with it’s sentiment and the wise and thoughtful lyric.
Picking up the energy with “Pendulum” which has a buried electronic and some programmed almost gabba beats that bleed out in the mix, it’s fast flow and elongated screams are catchy and addictive. The Jinjer esq melodic bridges without the progressive elements are a nice touch and work well over multiple listens. The first single which appeared some eight months before the album was “Passerby”, a track about shallow relationships without the depth of meaning. Lena describes her body as “frosting on the cake” with the real her having a “mouthful of razorblades” as she bemoans falling victim to the desires of the flesh. It’s savage unclean vocals are testimony to the depth of feeling behind the lyrics while the aggression in the music is backed off tastefully by the melodic half of the chorus that adds light to the shade. “Lure” has the insanity edge of a Butcher Babies track with some DJent riffs mixed into the Metalcore. It’s a faster short sharp shock of a track that skips the melodic break and clean vocals and instead hammers away with some impressive kit work. “Victims” adds a haunting synths to the thump of stuccato riffage while bringing back the formula of some of the earlier tracks by injecting the clean lines into the chorus with a more melodic backdrop. However the dive into those parts and resurfacing out of them back into the bands staple sound is seamlessly well crafted so what you’re left with is more of a track that grows on you than one that instantly stands out.
After an elongated building introduction of electronics “Walking Dead” has the stomp bridge but a quick return to the big cleans threatens to derail the flow. Fortunately, it’s saved by some heavier dirge riffs and powerful slides which closed off the previous cut. A drop out to electronic beats for an off kilter spoken word is a nice touch as Lena tries to shake you from the ills of society and the zombie apocalypse of every day life. A change up with more aggresive tendencies “Taphephobia” has a riffs a plenty alongside the most impressive kit performance on the album. Lengthening the track with a break beat section before a crescendo of screams and riffs with the beats buried underneath is well done. An 80’s science fiction film introduction with an eerie haunting atmospheric starts the five minutes of album closer “Storm” that replaces the Metal with programmed beats and synths to create a track that feels like a remix. Completely clean vocals with beautiful control and whispers makes for a thought provoking closing but brings the curtain down in a completely unexpected fashion. As an album it suffers from being over long in places and from a consistent desire to add in clean vocals. Sometimes less is more. [7/10]
The Earth Mantra
Symphony of Trust
“Endorphin” by Infected Rain is out now via Napalm Records