Replicant - Infinite Mortality

Artist: Replicant

Album Title: Infinite Mortality

Label: Transcending Obscurity

Date of Release: 12 April 2024

2024 definitely feels like it’s the year that my tastes get even heavier and more extreme. I tend to think of myself as a progressive metal fan first and foremost, but so far, there have only been precious few releases within that genre that I’ve liked. Instead, a quick look at the reviews I’ve completed so far, and it’s clear that black and death metal have dominated the first quarter. And today continues the trend because here I am reviewing yet another extreme and nasty album.

The album in question goes by the name of ‘Infinite Mortality’ and it’s the third full-length release from Replicant, another band I’ve heard about, but whose music has hitherto passed me by. You’ll know by now because I bang on about it often enough, that extreme metal hits all the harder for me when it’s accompanied by a little something other than just brutal savagery. On the face it, with a description that includes the words ‘convoluted’, ‘dissonant’, and ‘unexpected’, you’d think I’d remain clear of Replicant. However, the press release from New Jersey, US, trio of Mike Gonçalves (vocals, bass, guitars), Pete Lloyd (guitars, synths, ‘high frequency transmissions’), and Itay Keren (guitars, vocals, ‘void channels’) also mentions ‘catchy’ and ‘groovy’. Plus, they are on Transcending Obscurity, a label that generally gets it right with high quality releases within this extreme metal ballpark.

There’s no question that ‘Infinite Mortality’ is another fine release, too. In fact, that’s probably doing Replicant a disservice, because I know that this album, for many, is going to be one of the undisputed highlights of the year. The whole album is a masterclass in extreme and uncompromising music, both from a technical standpoint, as well as the way that it absolutely pummels and flattens the listener, leaving them a gibbering wreck, curled up in the corner of a room, rocking gently back and forth, incoherently mumbling. It has the power to break people and moreover, it does so gleefully, without a hint of remorse.

From the opening dirty guitar chug that signals the arrival of ‘Acid Mirror’, to the final apocalyptic moments of ‘Planet Of Skin’, Replicant refuse to let go. They refuse to do anything other than create the kind of music that they want, taking those willing to follow on a journey into some dark and disturbing places along the way. It’s all backed up by a fantastic production, too, where each instrument can be properly heard regardless of the varying amounts of ugly, twisted aggression that assault the senses. The drums of James Applegate, in particular, sound superb, although that should not be much of a shock considering mixing and mastering duties for the album were handled by the Cognitive and Hath drummer AJ Viana.

I have spent many a long hour in the company of ‘Infinite Mortality’ and I, however, remain steadfastly on the fence with this album. On the one hand, I love the intensity of it, plus the way in which the music just sounds different to many others that profess to plough a similar furrow. And yes, there is plenty of groove to be heard across the nine tracks of powerful, dissonant death metal.

Replicant - Infinite Mortality

It’s tricky to pick out favourite tracks because none of the compositions particularly stand out over and above each other; this is an incredibly consistent body of work. Instead, I find that there are stand-out moments littered throughout the album. The groove and pinched harmonics combination that appears within ‘Acid Mirror’ at around the two-minute mark is something that appeals to me each and every time I listen, as is the neck-breaking passage about a minute-and-a-half later.

I really like the dark and oppressive atmosphere that’s created within ‘Shrine To The Incomprehensible’ thanks, in part, to those moments of relative calm that crop up within it, not to mention the downright eerie pause just prior to the final groove-fest that’s the closing sequence to the track. Speaking of atmosphere, it’s hard to top the album closer ‘Planet Of Skin’ on that score. At a smidge over nine minutes, it’s the longest composition the band have penned and in so doing, it allows for plenty of slow build-up and claustrophobic passages to play tricks on the mind, as well as veering into the slowest of slow dirges at points. Then there are the sound effects that appear, just to add the nails to the grim aural coffin.

Elsewhere, the lurching groove found within the early stages of ‘Reciprocal Abandonment’ is something to behold, as is the churning, groovy riff that emerges towards the back end of ‘Pain Enduring’.

On the flipside, though, I can’t say that I have fallen head over heels for the album either. For every section that does catch my ear, there’s something else that I have more difficulty warming to. Chief amongst them are the vocals. With both Mike Gonçalves and Itay Keren offering their lungs to deliver diatribes throughout, there’s both a deeper growl and a higher, almost wheezy-sounding delivery. I favour the deeper voice, but for some reason, neither completely grab me and I find myself thinking that perhaps I’d enjoy the music if the vocals were less prominent in the mix or used even less frequently.

It all means that, for me, ‘Infinite Mortality’ is an album for which I have the utmost respect and admiration, but which has me continually wrestling with the conundrum as to whether I actually truly enjoy listening to it. If I have to think so hard about it and still cannot make a decision, it must mean that it’s simply not my kind of ‘thing’. And that’s fine. I have no doubt that I will dip into the odd song here and there over the coming months and, with such cool cover art, I’m tempted to buy it because it’ll look great in my collection. But I’ll leave it to others to fully salivate over it, because if this really is your ‘thing’, Replicant have delivered an absolute monster that deserves the accolades that are almost certain to come its way.

The Score of Much Metal: 86%



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