Album Title: 
The Untamed Hunger
Release Date: 
Friday, June 23, 2023
Review Type: 

Dutch act Infinity started almost three decades ago and still consists of two of the original members: Draconis (okay, he left this project for a while) and Balgradon Xul. During the first decade of this millennium, they did record four albums, yet as from then on, they did take their time before releasing new material. In this case, we, the impatient audience, had never awaited so long, for it has been six years (and a couple of times) before we could now, finally, bit welcome to this band’s seventh full-length studio album.

But believe me: being patient is a rewarding gift, in this album’s case. Why? Because The Untamed Hunger goes on in the vein of all former stuff, yet with even more professionalism, persuasion and finesse. As from the early years, Infinity’s main source of inspiration were the incredible Nineties, and then I am talking about the Scandinavian (and more specific: Norwegian and [especially] Swedish) scene. Okay, it was that time’s mindset, of course (Infinity started rehearsing and playing in 1995, at the peak of the worldwide Black Metal conquer). Yet then again, Infinity continued that direction, and they actually did, and still do, refine their sound with each new recording.

Let’s be honest: The Untamed Hunger is another step up high on their climb up towards the high peaks of the snow-covered mountains, where the spirits of the forefathers look down upon, awaiting the brave souls of their progeny. Or: this album indeed takes a next level within the competent and permanently evolving career of Infinity. For a non-ignorable reason, this has to do with the truly magnificent sound-quality, thanks to the professional work at the band’s own The Absolute I Productions studio. The result is overwhelming and powerful in sound, with a superb mix. It means that the interplay of all voices and instruments works flawless.

But the compositions too are, once again, of such cool level. Beware, because Infinity have never been ‘trend-setting’ or ‘renewing’. They have always been inspired by the scene ‘of Old’, and they never left this path. Why changing a winning team anyway. So, this album too floats on within comparable spheres reminiscent of the glorious times, seeking (and finding) inspiration within senses that did bewitch our whole world’s passion for Black Metal.

Anyway, before I start sermonizing about nostalgic dreams… This album lasts for about forty-three minutes and consists of six individual yet coherent epics. It opens with the lengthy piece Lord Of The Earth (08:57), starting off with a very short yet an extremely obscure intro. But very soon, the craft of this horde arises. Fast-paced rhythms, epic melodies (oh yes, this is epic in it’s purest form), grooving fragments, occult chapters, mesmerizing riffs and energetic patterns get fluently canalized into a monument of ‘universal understanding’! it’s an organic interplay of several guitar-layers, with melodious riffage, tremolo leads, hypnotic harmonies and combative textures. From vocal point, the leading throat-rape is of a very corrosive kind, expressing a confident timbre. Both voices and lead / solo guitars do not exist in their all-surrounding majesty without the unconditionally dedicated support of a superb drum-guidance. That whole percussion-based part of the concept refines the  martial, brave, uncompromising identity of vocals and leads. Evidently, the rhythm and bass guitars are as supportive for the whole approach. The power-driven structure of that background string-section pushes the whole forward (together with the intensity of several drum parts). A fine element too are both acoustic fragments (an intermezzo at about half of the track, as well as at the end), bringing a hint of glorious and victorious elegance. Or, in short: that opening track, Lord Of The Earth, is an arousing starter; and believe me if I say that there is much more well-composed sonic artistry yet to come.

Ortus Luciferi is the shortest piece (yet still clocking 4:38 minutes) and stands like an anthem for warlike perseverance. This song might be slightly more straight-forward compared to the opening track, yet still it reveals a multiple amount of well-crafted elements and finesse-laden details: extreme yet still organic tempo-changes (with some volcano-like outbursts), subtle bass-lines, monumental drum patterns, authoritarian vocals, and narrative epicism.

And I can go on, yet it would bring me too far. Mind that purest Heathen / Viking-like intro (amazing!) that starts the blast-epic Hakathriel, for example (a track permanently balancing in between unstoppable blast-assaults and ceremonious mid-paced parts) (and imagine those sensitive dual-leads towards the end, birthing grace and fairness). Or what about, since we’re mentioning the use of acoustic parts, that opening sequence of The Cold Silence Beyond; a track soon expanding into a monument of sound, pushed by the raspy growling screams, the multi-layered twin leads and Nordic-styled melodies, the artillery-like drums, and the really beautiful basses (and then I did not mention the variety in structure and tempo yet, with organically sounding transitions in between speed and construction). Or immerse yourself into the infinite sonic ocean of the title track, which is another multi-parted hymn, with howling wolves (hehe, indeed), bombastic harmonies, coherent tempos and cohesive structures, a solid and resolute atmosphere, a perfected equilibrium of pugnacious and nostalgic set-ups, fabulous roaring double-bass-drums, and so much more…

Still hugely inspired by the likes of Necrophobic, Dissection or Immortal, but more than ever before, Infinity have found their own sound and identity.

For the release of this masterpiece, Infinity signed to Immortal Frost Productions. The album is released on compact-disc and vinyl. The CD-edition is a jewel-case one, which comes with a sixteen-page booklet, and the LP-version was printed in three different colors, all of them containing the usual A2-sized poster. There’s also a rather limited version on cassette, available via Zvaertgevegt. It does come with very nice artwork by Rogier Ooijevaar, adjusted by IFP’s closely related WrathDesign.

It would ask endurance and inner strength to wait another couple of years once again, but if the result would be, once more, another step-up (why not anyway), I’ll prey to my gods to grant me the gift of patience, for I’m sure it will be worth it!