Innsmouth: The Shadow Over Innsmouth

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Innsmouth: The Shadow Over Innsmouth
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Innsmouth: The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Technical Death Metal
Crime Records
October 10th, 2014
Release length: 33:53
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Innsmouth came together in 2006, but the first official line-up wasn’t formed until late 2012 during a a severe blizzard. Since then, the ly H.P. Lovecraft inspired Death Metal group has been working on material for their very first full-length album, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The time has come to unleash the inspiration of the ancient ones, aided by the label Crime Records for release this year. But is this first attempt a solid one, or is it more like a wasted opportunity?

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is your fairly standard underground Death Metal recording with a drum machine at work, but also dabbles in a few Brutal Death Metal tropes and plenty of Neoclassical guitar solos. There’s also keyboards from time to time to keep things interesting, which end up a welcome addition overall considering how bland this release actually is. “Vomiting a Hole in the Soul” offers up some tight guitar work at the start that shows a technical side to the group that is dropped for the sake of catchy grooves and traces of Progressive bass guitar driven bridges. The song also pushes towards the five minute mark, though just past the two it brings in a clip from the film Army of Darkness in a manner that makes it seem like you moved on to the next track. Truth be told, it easily could have ended here, as well as it should have to cut out a little extra unnecessary fat.

“Under the Pyramids” has a nice little Middle Eastern touch to the guitars at times, as well as some technicality throughout that isn’t anything special, but just enough to get the aforementioned atmosphere across to the listener at times. Then there’s the somewhat chaotic “Reanimator”. The tighter output and faster bass kicks from the drum machine hammer away in a manner that dilutes the obvious traces of them being programmed instead of man made, and even the slower segment about two minutes in has enough going on to mask that aspect of the sound, relying ly on more bass kicks than the flat cymbals to fill the music behind the laid back Cynic-esque passage that follows.

The problem with The Shadow Over Innsmouth is that the music just seems lifeless and bland. Sure it’s all well paced, but, with the exception of the guitar solos and certain faster, technical passages, a good chunk of this album is lacking any sort of genuine bite. This is thanks ly to the mild distortions used, the obviously robotic and lifeless output of the drum machine, and stagnant growls with the occasional accompanying pig squeals. “Clatu Verata Nictu” is a prime example of this very thing. While the song sounds like it’s a powerful composition, the music itself often comes across bland when it hits the mid-tempo material, only finding energy during the chorus. Even some of the Progressive Death Metal leads are fairly uninspiring, or can sound more like something out of a video game like they do around two-and-a-half minutes in. However, like every track before it, the guitar solo is spot on, casting an astral environment that will immediately grab your interest before going right back into the Progressive riffs that try to keep with that tone but simply cannot.

Innsmouth is one of those bands you want so hard to sound good, but just doesn’t quite have the impact you hope for. Any fan of H.P. Lovecraft will immediately appreciate the respect paid to him, and for that The Shadow Over Innsmouth is immediately a commendable effort. However, the execution of the performances end up too bland and uninspiring much of the time to really be anything more than that. What lies in wait for anyone who dare press play will find plenty of Neoclassical guitar solos, as well as traces of Progressive Death Metal to tickle one’s fancy. The music on The Shadow Over Innsmouth doesn’t make for a bad album, and if these songs were honestly performed on stage, perhaps with a real drummer and not the machine, they would sound a lot better. It’s just how everything sounds on The Shadow Over Innsmouth that makes one spin through enough before you start rummaging through your collection for something else to throw in.


01. Vomiting a Hole in the Soul – 4:50
02. Dreams of Drowning – 4:08
03. Ritual of Chud – 5:40
04. Under the Pyramids – 4:00
05. Clatu Verata Nictu – 4:33
06. Reanimator – 4:03
07. The Colour Out of Space – 2:50
08. The Shadow Over Innsmouth – 3:50
Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10

Innsmouth
Innsmouth

Digital review copy of this release provided by Crime Records
via The Metal Detector Music Promotions.