Artist: Inanimate Prognosis
Album: Father Horror
Brutal death metal and “slamming” death metal have reputations for complete and utter absurdity. Personally, I have a hard time taking many bands in the genre seriously because some of the more grotesque artists seem more like satires on slam than actual, truly dedicated, slam bands themselves. Enter Inanimate Prognosis, and their full length offering Father Horror. This crushing quartet take a foundation built on brutal death metal and add equal parts blackening and breakdown-heavy Deathcore, finishing it off with a fun, refreshing sense of humor that makes even the most dense and sinister parts of the album accessible. Inanimate Prognosis may not be the world’s most original band—neither are they necessarily incredibly technical or progressive—but they take a huge burden off of the ears of skeptical listeners, promising a fun, furious and full-bodied experience that will smash skulls, scald flesh and tickle funny bones.
Father Horror’s instrumentation obscures the band’s more comical proclivities entirely—if one were just hearing the devastating drumming and enormous, crunchy guitars, they wouldn’t have any idea the band also had a prominent sense of humor. With percussion that that ranges from sludgy and lurid to fleet and flashy, Inanimate Prognosis use a broad spectrum of drumming styles as a canvas upon which to paint with shades of gore, grime and the grotesque. Bassist Johnathan Buser coats every thick kick drum smack with pure filth, grooving away with reckless abandon. “Unborn Atrocity” is an excellent example—as several times throughout the track, the spotlight falls on Buser to accompany the drums, transitioning into the next lobotomizing slam. Primarily though, Buser remains in the background, adding meat and thickness to the riffs and chugs of guitarists Arthur Lawrence and Brendan Mack. Lawrence and Mack go from quick riffs on “Heresy” and “Unborn Atrocity” to eviscerating slams and breakdowns on “The Darkened Gospel,” practically ending life as we know it at the song’s climax. The duo only feature rare moments of technicality—the solos and grooves on “Global War on Mechanical Maggots,” for example—but when they do, it’s tightly written and cohesively played. A great majority of the album, however, is spent oppressing the listener under boundless layers of bloody brutality.
Inanimate Prognosis’ vocal element is where the more corny and comic elements of their slam-tinted blackened deathcore come into play. The introduction, a cheesy skit, is bound to get at least a couple chuckles out of the listener—with some of the more obtuse and absurd lyrics to “Surrogate Injection” and “Surgical Warfare” treading the line between slam and…slam-tire (satire, for those who aren’t on board with slam puns). Much to the same effect, frontman Dakota Rivera’s vocals are all over the place. With practically perfect gutturals and grisly growls, Rivera’s high range starts to get a little abrasive and unwelcome—especially as the listener reaches “Surrogate Injection.” However, Rivera’s excellent low range, surreal squeals and a couple extraordinary guest vocal appearances keep Father Horror afloat with only minor deductions for Rivera’s occasionally cringe-worthy screeches and shrill, raspy shouts.
Overall, the prognosis for Inanimate Prognosis is far from lifeless. Rather, the band create an instrumentally solid album with slight vocal missteps—ones that avid fans of brutal death metal probably won’t even notice or care about—providing a punishing and fun listen. Father Horror certainly won’t reinvent a new or skeptical listener’s perspective on the genre, but it might just scare them silly all the same. Riff-tinted ruthlessness with a coat of acrid blackening and bone-smashing heaviness makes it a good one-off listen and a worthwhile addition to any slamophile’s collection.
For Fans Of: Vulvodynia, Sentenced (UK), Ingested, Acrania
By: Connor Welsh