Released: 2018, Hammerheart Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
I’m a big fan of thrash metal. It’s one of the first metal subgenres I got into, and to this day I get such a kick out of that raw, frantic energy. That said, I also have a confession of sorts: I really don’t like Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends. I’d even say I hate it.
For all two of you who didn’t immediately close this review in disgust, thanks. I hate Darkness Descends because I feel is represents how a band -shouldn't- play thrash metal. It aims to be as wild and fast as possible but very rarely with any thought given to song structure, variety or memorability. It’s the same dull extremity over and over again, just being thrashy and aggressive for the sake of being thrashy and aggressive, and nothing more.
This is a review of Inquisitor’s curiously titled Stigmara Me, I’m in Misery. I bring up Darkness Descends only because so too do Inquisitor; they’re clearly working hard to replicate that same feeling of unfiltered viciousness. Unfortunately for me, doing so means I just feel the same way about this album as I did about Darkness Descends, more or less.
For those not getting an immediate mental sound, this particular brand of thrash is dominated by speed and lack of restraint above all else. The pace very rarely dips below that of a revving chainsaw. Sure, the riffs are impressively fast, but all too often they wind up creating the exact same buzzsaw effect, and they’re buried beneath frustratingly unrestrained drumming. There’s nothing wrong with letting rip on the percussion, but there needs to be a purpose to it. This just sounds like trying to hit as many things and make as much raw noise as possible.
The vocals don’t add anything better either. Again, they’re not the worst I’ve heard, but there’s nothing to set them apart, and most of the time, like every other aspect of this music, it just sounds like it’s being wild and untamed for the sake of making noise.
There is the occasional solo, and they’re not bad, but short and often feel like they’re thrown in because it’s the done thing, rather than because they fit in with the song or add anything. Also, two tracks, “Northern Goliath” and “Castigate Into Divine Apostle” do add in some recorded orchestral flourishes at the start, but these aside the songs are all completely indistinguishable from one another. I only realised my player had cycled back to the first song when I heard Prokofiev’s “Dance of the Knights” playing again. Nine songs, and without that I don’t think I would’ve known we’d gone around again.
I'm sure these guys can play technically impressive stuff, but it's all thrown together so haphazardly, so completely slapdash. No thought is given to composition, there are no discernible song structures. Morbid Saint had this same goal of frantic aural disembowelment but managed superb results, and more recently (and in a more progressive vein) so too have Vektor. Here, for me anyway, it just falls flat. I make the Darkness Descends comparison not just because it feels apt, but because I know that to some this will sound like glowing praise. Maybe, if this is your thing, you will love it for the same reasons I decidedly do not.