INFLICTION
"The Silencer"

(Cruz Del Sur)

01. Eyeseeblack
02. Redhouse
03. Poisonradio
04. Nocturnal
05. Sleepers
06. Welcome
07. Paperlife
08. Thirtyseven
09. Breathe
10. Closer
11. The Voice

RATING: 6/10

The usually reliable Cruz Del Sur label (SLOUGH FEG, ENSOPH, HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE) slips a little here, releasing this overcooked slab of bloated, second-tier Eurometal. This Italian band (fronted by German vocalist Björn Goosses, ex-NIGHT IN GALES — remember any of their songs? Me either) straddles some middle ground between prog-metal, melodic death, and commercialized goth-rock, and it sorta does every style half-assed, only really catching a spark toward the end.

"The Silencer" has a schizophrenic sound to it — a borderline AOR chorus clashes with death metal vocals in "Poisonradio", while needlessly awkward prog rhythms push and pull in the convoluted "Thirtyseven". "Sleeper" throws a little Swedish thrash into the mix, while "Breathe" features the best blend of the deathly and the more progressive, and boasts the most memorable chorus and solo on the record. The acoustic "Closer" and their surprisingly faithful cover of ULTRAVOX's "The Voice" close out the album on a more slick, accessible note (and interestingly, "The Voice" is more produced and glossy than the rest of the album — perhaps going for a radio cut here?).

The rest of "The Silencer" sounds a bit cheap — there are times when Goosses' vocals are a little off key, and could have used the benefit of another take. The production is a little thin and formless, and it aids in creating this meandering sort of malaise that takes over the album. For a band this willing to experiment and throw different sounds into their mix, more should stick with the listener — but surprisingly little of this is memorable. It conveys the attempt to be diverse and original, more than actual originality or creative construction.

A simple increase in focus could make INFLICTION a world-class band. The elements are here for greatness, as is the obvious desire to musically dazzle. The band just needs to tighten up its songwriting, get a little higher production budget, and infuse their next album with a bit more urgency, and they'll be there. "The Silencer", while a noble attempt with some bright spots, falls a bit short.

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