Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fifth To Infinity - Obscure Transdimensional Soulfire (2015)

Formed in Stockholm back in 1997, this Swedish black/death act have apparently only released one album. What they were doing for the past couple of decades remains a mystery, but as of 2015 they released this groundbreaking release of which I am just now hearing via promo. These guys are on Avantgarde records, which also houses our spotlight album this year from Dagian and have since become a banner of quality in my eyes. Now the record didn't really sell me from “Reapers Wake” but when the tremendous thumping groove riffs of “Masters Unbound” came into view, I was taken from the first listen. It's quite interesting to me that Secrets Of The Moon are also tagged on the band's page, because there's a great deal to this record that reminds me of earlier Secrets Of The Moon, right before the change of style they pursued in last year's Sun. I wasn't the biggest fan of Sun despite the occasional couple of tracks, so it's quite natural that I'd look for a damn replacement for that style. Fifth To Infinity definitely seem to fill that void for me, with a definite reminder of albums like Carved In Stigmata Wounds, Privilegivm and my all-time favorite, Seven Bells. Even hearing something remotely like Seven Bells is cause for celebration in my eyes, especially when Fifth To Infinity sound like they've taken that hevaily ritualistic style of black death and made it their own.

What you might find rather interesting about this act are the players in it. For one, we've got the almighty Martin Lopez (Soen, Ex-Eternal, Ex-Amon Amarth hasn't sounded good since, Ex-Opeth might never sound that good again) on drums, along with Nader Jonas Reslan on guitars and vocals (ex-Vinterkrig – Martin Lopez was also in this band at one point) as well as David Lidh on bass, which is suprisingly loud and prominent on this record. Omnipotent Transdimensional Soulfire is the kind of record that revels in a sea of downtuned bass chugs, making them quite fearsome and less groovy, which is something I expect for a black metal record reviewed on The Grim Tower. Reslan's vocals are pleasingly volatile, with a mix between a growl and a rasp that sounds nearly threatening, matching the bleak and mystical presence of the music. If this is a magical ritual of some sort, than it definitely of the bleakest and most potent kind, truly usurping brighter efforts in the might of it's overbearing viscosity.

Perhaps certain sections of leads might become buried (Death Shall Wake Us All) within the weight of Lidh's bass riffs, but you can't deny that this record carries a sort of gelatinous evil with it, the kind that would eat a man alive in it's acidic grasp. The disc also has a long staying power and truly seems like the result of several decades of work. But if you're going to be around for more than twenty years and only release one record, then it had better be a great one. Thankfully it is, even beating Dark Funeral at their own game in this reviewer's opinion. A lot of times it does seem (and I'm borrowing from Alice Cooper here) that a lot of these black metal bands are trying to one-up one each other and see how evil that can be. While Cooper might find that silly, I find it quite interesting. I'm always ready and waiting to hear how evil an act can sound, and if they've managed to make a truly forlorn, hopeless and decidedly grim release. As long as I've been listening to this kind of music I think I've gotten the feel for how evil a record should sound, as well as for what makes a record seem evil. These gentlemen have the right idea as far as that as concerned, and if you're looking for something truly terrifying, you've come to the right place.

Depending on your listening methods, some of the leads will come out a little better than others (I remember the opening leads on “Secrets Of The Bottom” coming out much better in the mix on my headphones than here on my laptop speakers) and the device you listen to this record on can ultimately affect your enjoyment of it quite a bit. Having accidentally hit the play button twice on a few songs (I was moving appliances while listening to this one) I definitely got more of a taste for this disc than several others I listened to that day. But I didn't mind, as I was really enjoying this disc and to listen to the same song two and three times that day was certainly not an issue.

I feel that this trio completed something that should stand the test of time if enough people can get their ears on it and it doesn't fade away in the dark. It's just too damned good to get neglected in my opinion and I'd really like to hear the trio release another one if at all possible. There's even a shout out to the King Diamond style vocal approach here, so you'll need to pay attention for that. It's pretty easy for me to say that Omnipotent Transdimensional Soulfire is yet another one of my favorite releases this year (or should I say last year?) as with so many others. People who still complain that there isn't any good metal out there anymore (and yes, I hear so many comments like this online) really need to have their ears checked, because I've already highlighted three truly powerful albums this week alone, with more to come I'm quite sure. Being that I'm quite attached to this one, I'd certainly recommend it to you as well. This is black metal the way that I've always loved it, and I hope that you'll find something dark, fearsome and evil within this listen as well. If it doesn't make the hair crawl on the back of your neck, it's just not evil enough. That's what Fifth To Infinity manage to do here and I'm ever thankful for it.

(9 Tracks, 55:00)


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