Despite death metal’s sonically varied and expansive scope, its endlessly evolving wealth of genre-smashing new talent and rich legacy of influential legends, few sub-genres are more thoroughly riddled with mindless stereotypes and clichés than this notoriously brutal offshoot of extreme music. And be it besmirching an artist’s good name with the dreaded ‘-core’ suffix or applying such cringe-worthy genre tags as ‘br00tal’ and ‘djent’, it seems critics never tire of throwing around such clumsily ill-fitting terms. But despite sometimes being inaccurately pigeonholed as a straight-up slam metal band, it's long been clear that Mancunian aggressors Ingested are onto something altogether darker than this sweepingly generic genre tag would have us believe.
Continually pushing and progressing their joyously pulverising craft over the decade that followed their inception back in 2006, this relentlessly industrious collective would showcase a superior standard of searing, tautly engineered brutality with 2018 breakthrough ‘The Level Above Human’. And while it’s unsurprising that the past two years have seen Ingested continue to advance and evolve in the most broadly applicable sense of a band ‘upping their game’ or even (cringe) ‘raising the bar’, 2020 follow-up ‘Where Only Gods May Tread’ proves to be so much more than simply the next logical step forward in the band’s ongoing artistic growth and progression. Rather, this is a violent and deeply disquieting mutation of sorts - an abomination born of brutalising ultra-violence and anguish. So without further ado, let’s lift the lid on this blackly immersive catalogue of horrors…
All violently propulsive acceleration and bristling hostility, ‘Follow The Deceiver’ implodes straight out of the gate at a pace that pulverises the eardrums into submission within literal seconds of its brutally battering opening. From here, densely churning layers of bass-laden groove display darkly abrasive intensity and sculpted technical precision in abundance. Elsewhere, ‘Impending Dominance’s’ putrefying, densely clotted vocal contortions positively reek of the grave, its distortion-drenched midsection plunging us headlong into uncharted depths of pitch-black melancholia. But by the time ‘The Burden of Our Failures’ issues forth its crippling slabs of tombstone-heavy groove before unfurling in lustrous lines of dusky, majestically elongated fretwork, it’s clear this deliriously dark downward spiral of a record has barely just begun to unravel. Indeed, follow-up track ‘Dead Seraphic Forms’ is furnished with a frankly stunning array of intricately arranged fretwork together with insanely paced clusters of percussion that blister and implode like lashing tongues of infernal fire.
But it’s arguably epic closer ‘Leap of the Faithless’ that finds the UK death metal crew at their ghoulishly compelling finest. With gnarly, darkly contorted guitar lines that generate nightmarish atmospherics in amongst exhilarating blasts of aggression, there’s no mistaking the harrowing depths of torment at the heart of this impeccably penned standout. Indeed, theirs is a darkness that closes in with all the cold and grim inexorability of the hangman's noose, the withering frailty of old age, the eternal dreamless sleep of oblivion. And from every tortured scream to unceasingly battering accent of brutality, it’s all right here in potent, undiluted abundance.
'Where Only Gods May Tread' is out now via Unique Leader