Hailing from Costa Rica – a destination which obviously exports a hell of a lot more than top quality coffee beans – we have Inhuman. Conquerors Of The New World, their second album, references traditional Death Metal elements while snapping at the heels of modern technical exponents of the genre. That’s a delicate balancing act and in the hands of bands like The Faceless, Technical Death, while very clever, can become rather unmusical. On the other hand, if you cling to your roots too much, you risk sounding like just another disgruntled caveman…so to speak!
Conquerors Of The New World doesn’t muck about with niceties. It doesn’t try and convince you what great musicians this four-piece are; you’ll find that out the hard way. There’s no build-up, no acoustic intro, no moody soundscape to kick things off; Inhuman just fucking floor-it with the knock out combo of the titular “Conquerors of the New World” then “Souless Dead Eyes”. They assault like a swarm of pissed-off bees, jazzed-up chromatic riffs ascending and descending over merciless blasts, the vocal delivery a sharp, unrelenting growl. The opening track, like much of what follows, is lengthy and after seven minutes with no let-up whatsoever, Inhuman are still punching our now inert body as it lies on the floor. It’s not until third track “Hold Your Crucifix”, that mercy is shown in the form of flashy swept licks and slower sections. It is here, when they draw breath, that you start to enjoy the ride.
Inhuman frequently reference Progressive Death forefathers, Atheist, Pestilence and, in some of their rhythmic patterns, Morbid Angel, but it is their love of Death and the late, great Chuck Schuldiner that shouts the loudest. The saw and twang of fretless bass throughout could have come directly from the fingers of Steve DiGeorgio and the sense of Deja vu peaks on “Extermination by Depopulation” which sounds like a lost cut from Human, Death’s Prog Metal blueprint.
In the field of Technical Death you expect to be no more than a thrown pick from a great guitar player and, happily, Inhuman have one in their ranks. There is some ludicrously quick soloing on here which just about clings to its sense of musicality even when contending with the most abstract riffs and time signatures. The dryness of the production, while providing little cover from the pummelling, does allow the interplay of bass and guitar to read really well. There is a real feeling of control, despite the chaos.
Inhuman are technically amazing and have some great song ideas, but while there are thrills aplenty on Conquerors Of The New World, there is also a feeling that some of these songs could be paired down by a minute or two. Progressive and Technical Death at its highest level thrives on dynamics and there perhaps aren’t enough here to elevate the band to world class standard. Too often they just hit you with a good riff and then repeat it until you black out. It’s a pity because it is at their most nuanced, such as the climb and tumble of “America Rises”, that they sound best. The lyrical content too might be a little puerile for some, particularly in light of some of the high-brow musicality that accompanies it. On the closing track the frontman roars, “I don’t want to shoot you, I just want to stab you…”
As an exercise in technicality and brutality, Conquerors Of The New World succeeds and these boys gave us a Costa Rican kicking that we will not soon forget. But, if they were to distill their ideas and temper the firestorm with varying textures, they would become an even more exciting proposition. 7/10