Music Review: Insinnerator – Hypothermia EP

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Band: Insinnerator
Genre: Thrash Metal
Type: EP
Release Date: December 22nd, 2012
Rating: 8.7 out of 10

The music performed by the Dallas, Texas thrash metal band Insinnerator is designed for true-to-the-core thrash metal fan. If I had to describe Insinnerator and their 2012 release, the Hypothermia EP, in a concise manner, it would have to be “Fast, heavy, and fun”. With nostalgic high-speed drum battery, restless and tricky guitars and bass, and aggressive lyrics gutted out in rapid and slippery fashion, I don’t think one can go wrong in describing it that way. After listening to Hypothermia attentively, it is also important to note that atmosphere is also allowed in their performance, which is an element that distinguishes them from straight-up thrash metal and more towards the density and intricacies that bands like Metallica or Overkill weren’t afraid to experiment with.

Let us dive into the cover artwork of Hypothermia. Remember what I said about the EP being fun? It’s not quite limited to the music itself! The chilling cold atmosphere actually complements the music instead of just looking cool, in that the atmosphere weaved into the sound can make it easy to imagine that the songs comprise a soundtrack to this kind of imagery. As for this Elemental Ice Dragon (which I am going to presume is what the title of track four is referring to), although he is not fearsome as, say, an HR Giger alien, he is as monstrous as the big-lipped singing alligator from Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go to Heaven. I may run in panic either way if confronted by such a creature!

Hypothermia wastes no time in kickstarting the music with the opening track, “Burned Alive”. Insinnerator allow themselves to jam the fast riffs for about a minute before the vocals come in. When they do, they are dealt in rapid succession, not unlike one of the harsher, faster moments of Slayer’s Tom Araya. I can also hear some influence from bands like Sadus during moments when the bass is protruding. The track after the opener is “Pentagram”. This song is similar enough to “Burned Alive” as far as tempo and rhythmic aggression. We hear more gang-style vocals here in there, similar to early Anthrax and perhaps more modern crossover thrash. It is overall in the same spirit as “Burned Alive”, essentially functioning to maintain the momentum of the EP thus far, at least until we arrive at track three.

The title track, “Hypothermia”, is an instrumental piece lasting for a little short of three minutes and is designed to capture a cold mood. The clean guitar comes alive with only the evocative ambient whine as a confine of where it could go. It is played like an exotic instrument, perhaps like a sitar but more like a shamisen at times (like the intro to Symphony X’s “Lady of the Snow”). An element to what keeps it interesting is the ambiguity of what that clean guitar is supposed to be, much more than just a clean guitar. The almost meditative, brooding ambience provides calm, as the piece as a whole serves as an introduction to the next song.

An adventure close to eight minutes in length, “Elemental Ice Dragon” finds the band able to breathe a little more and allow for a more clean atmosphere. This means that they can incorporate more diverse styles of riffing to make the whole complete. It is far from a moderate-tempo song however; “Elemental Ice Dragon” still consists of fast, driving rhythms and is still a thrashing force. It is still exotic in mood like “Hypothermia”, but of course this time this is a heavy, crushing song.

We return to all-out speed and craziness with “Aquatic Abyss” (I’m noticing a watery and/or icy death theme here on this EP!). Compared to what the listener has heard thus far, “Aquatic Abyss” is an amalgamation of the main tracks. It allows for some slow moments in the guitar in between the times the band is going absolutely nuts banging out their instruments, and the vocals are even more tongue-twisting and sharp than before. If one has appropriated Hypothermia as a digital download or a CD, this would be an appropriate capstone to slam in everything the EP has done style-wise, but double.

As a YouTube exclusive, however, there is a sixth and final proper track to end out Hypothermia. “Curse (Horror of Dracula)” takes what I’ve just said about “Aquatic Abyss” and cranks its aspects a few more notches. At this point I’m just admiring the sheer energy this band must have to keep delivering the music with precision…especially when they play live. It’s not just the guitar solos that are blistering here, a bass solo really shreds and stand out against the heavy guitar rhythms. The song ends with a bang, and then a well-earned rest, closing out on the listener with a clean segment that brings back the cold, snowy landscape before fading out.

If you are a true thrash metal fan, you cannot go wrong with this band and their EP Hypothermia; it is fit for the straight-up headbangers and for those that like doses of intricacy and atmosphere. If the listener is not so inclined to thrash metal that is nostalgic to fans of Slayer, Metallica, Overkill and the like, it might not sink in with first listen. I would urge that listener to give these guys a chance and give a few more listens to familiarize themselves with the songs and perhaps then they will see how the songs not only stand out, but a lot of effort went into them.

I can tell that Insinnerator allowed themselves to be creative and produce a collection of music that is heavy overall but well varied in content. If they can be this flexible on an EP, I’d love to hear what they would come up on their next full length! Go and check out Hypothermia, especially if your primary interest is good-quality thrash metal! I personally rate this EP an 8.7 out of a 10!