Album: The Level Above Human
Mankind has a collective obsession with the “next level” of consciousness and being. Don’t get me wrong—progression is a powerful thing, and the drive to better one’s self is crucial to overcoming the pitfalls of complacency and stagnation. But, when it dictates our lives, and our fascination with evolution and deism turns into a true obsession, disasters can happen. Many a man and woman have spent a lifetime in a laboratory or temple in a frenzied search to determine just how they can tip the scales and make the jump from ordinary to divine. Countless souls and eons have been wasted with getting no closer to any tangible answer.
That is, until Ingested and their 2018 full-length release, The Level Above Human.
With a lengthy and robust career under their belts, slamming death metal-infused-with-deathcore outfit Ingested have but one overarching legacy—progression. Every release has gotten them closer and closer to veritable stardom and, with The Level Above Human, the outfit can finally rest easy with the knowledge that, through countless crushing slams, several scathing riffs and intensity by the kiloton, they’ve become Gods among the heavy music community.
With every release, Ingested have further obfuscated the lines between traditional deathcore (which has always incorporated a sprinkling of slam elements) and sinister, spine-splitting slamming death metal. Where some releases found themselves distinctly more on one side or another of the blurry (but oft debated) line dividing the two, The Level Above Human decimates the divisor completely. Throughout the release’s impressive forty-something minute runtime, the band use everything from skin-peeling leads, machine gun blast beats and back-buckling breakdowns to lead a comprehensive onslaught on the listener. “Sovereign” and “Misery Leech” are two examples with hard-hitting (a la late 2000s) breakdowns defined by percussionist Lyn Jeffs’ precise hands and fleet feet—where “Purveyors Of Truth” infuses a sparse taste of melodeath into an otherwise slamming backbone. Jeffs’ drumming is unstoppable throughout, with every song serving as a further testament to his tremendous skill-set. Take “Purge the Parasite,” for example, where Jeffs’ drumming works brilliantly with the beefy, snappy bass work from Brad Fuller to unleash pure Hell on the listener. Fuller may not ever really stand alone throughout The Level Above Human, but he does serve as a crucial integument between Jeffs and the furious fretwork from guitarists Sean Hynes and Sam Yates. Thanks to Hynes and Yates, Ingested’s dynamism is more marvelous than ever. Every song is an example of their excellence, with the front half of the release focusing more on inflicting blunt force trauma in as many ways as possible, while the latter half is more diverse and draws from a more full-bodied spectrum of metallic influence.
Even with the other-worldly instrumental prowess that Ingested boast, one of the biggest draws the group have is, without a doubt, the terrorizing talent harbored by frontman Jason Evans. One of few who’s very name has become synonymous with slam (even in spite of the genre’s elitists), Evans’ excellence is amplified even further on The Level Above Human. With an entire arsenal of styles ranging from ruthless roars, guttural bellows and screeching, shrill highs, Evans (assisted by Ingested’s two guitarists) employs vocal styles exemplified by the band’s brutalizing back-catalogue, as well as an expanded range of metallic styles—especially on “Purveyors of Truth” and “Last Rites”–giving the group’s dynamic an overhaul it didn’t necessarily need, but is certainly welcome. Meanwhile, “Sovereign” and many other hits from The Level Above Human are Evans leading the charge like the tip of a spear aimed right at the listener’s throat, thirsting for blood and violence, not stopping for a breath or taking a break until Evans gets what he wants. His work throughout this record is much in tune with the remainder of the band’s: dedicated, immense, monstrous—I could go on and on—but the point is that The Level Above Human is Evans (and Ingested) at their best. Period.
The Level Above Human is a masterwork of murderous, grim, grisly violence. Using just about every tool in extreme music’s toolshed to craft a bastion to brutality, Ingested go above and beyond with their efforts on their latest record. Using melody in miniscule amounts to fill out and balance the relentless slams, breakdowns, riffs and grooves with atmosphere and a dismal, soul-decaying sense of looming, ethereal doom, Evans and Manchester’s resident masters of slamming aggression cannot be stopped nor can they be topped. The better part of an hour of immolating, flesh-burning insanity, The Level Above Human sees ingested ascend to the level above notoriety, becoming figurative deities of the extreme music community.
For Fans Of: Vulvodnia, Within Destruction, Devourment, Signs of the Swarm
By: Connor Welsh