Released: 2014, Xtreem Records
The thrash metal explosion of the late ’80s, like the NWOBHM one before it, contained a number of 3rd and 4th tier bands vying for attention, causing a glut that eventually helped kill of interest in the genre. We’ve seen it time and time again with new, “hot” genres through the years. Melodic death metal, black metal, metalcore, you name it, but they all became grossly overcrowded before finally imploding, leaving only the “best” (arguably) behind. Naturally, as time goes on, “genre miners” dig deeper into these lost bands, sometimes unearthing true gems, other times…not so much. By way of that long-winded intro, allow me to introduce Infamous Sinphony, a short-lived thrash band out of California that has become active again, even releasing a new album in 2013. To continue the momentum, Xtreem Records has re-released the band’s debut album, MANIPULATION, originally released in 1989.
Before getting to the music, I’ve got to give full marks to Xtreem Records for the effort put into this one. The album is fully re-mastered, includes three bonus tracks (from a 1990 Wild Rags Records split album), and has extensive liner notes, lyrics, and photos. In short, it’s totally value-add and definitely how a re-release should be done.
That said…I have to question MANIPULATION being re-released at all. The 19 tracks offered here show exactly why Infamous Sinphony were not out there competing with The Big Four for your attention in 1989…this is under-written and terribly-voiced thrash. True, the band was more of a crossover hardcore/thrash hybrid than a pure thrash group, but that doesn’t excuse sloppy execution, even for 25 years ago.
I do hear some potential in SOME of the songs; particularly the longer ones like the title track where the band explores riffs beyond pure hyper-speed blosh, however such moments are few and far between. And again, those vocals…yeesh. Sadly, there is often a reason why some bands didn’t get a chance to play with the big boys, and MANIPULATION is proof that Infamous Sinphony didn’t have that special something.
For purists and historians only.