Infernal Vengeance - Dual mayhem 3.5/5
1. Glorious north
2. Tremendous malice
3. The dark
4. Metal crusade
5. By the end of the day
6. Infernal vengeance
7. Bleed for your master
8. Defend our kingdom
9. I am God
10. Launch of evil
Karl Beckman took a little longer than his Mithotyn guitar partner Stefan Weinerhall to make his next move after the viking metal outfit split up in 1999. While Weinerhall almost immediately got to work on the more melodic Falconer, Beckman spent a couple of years on the cover band scene before regrouping with a new band, installing himself as the vocalist.
While it is immediately obvious that Infernal Vengeance have stayed in the aggressive side of the spectrum, the black metal sound prevalent throughout Mithotyn's career does not carry through to the songs here. Folk influences and Norse-themed lyrics still form a large part of the band's music, but their entire foundation is one built on a much more traditional heavy metal sound.
Beckman's vocals, while very raspy and aggressive, do not reach the same levels of over-the-top intensity heard on the Mithoyn/Thy Primordial side project Indungeon. The lyrics are usually very audible, though people with an aversion to harsh vocals may find his performance not to their tastes. While finding a category that describes Infernal Vengeance is a bit of a challenge, thinking of thrashy traditional metal with folk influences and harsh vocals is probably as good a description as can be given without actually playing the CD.
'Dual mayhem' originally began life as 2 demo tapes, recorded a year apart and with a slight, but very notable line-up change. The albums' first 5 tracks feature Daniel Nilsson on lead guitar (all guitar on the first recording was performed by Beckman), and his presence is notable, most prominently on the track "By the end of the day", where he unleashed 2 high-speed old-school metal solos. The songs on the 2nd recording all tend to have a slightly more upbeat 'rock' feel to them than the more aggressive tracks that form the 2nd half of the CD, and Nilsson's presence on these tracks is certainly a contributing factor.
The songs are generally quite short, with only one exceeding the 4-minute mark. This leaves the listener with 2 main modes of song – the slower, aggressive songs and the mini-epics. Despite their short length, many of the songs, particularly the closer "Launch of evil" feel like true battle hymns. This final song features a very memorable chorus with dual clean and harsh vocals and is carried along by a wonderful melody. "Metal crusade" is a bit of a black sheep on the CD, opening with a very familiar-sounding bass intro before developing into a mid-paced, fists in the air metal anthem.
While things are kept relatively straightforward, there are a few moments of inspired songwriting – the acoustic break in "Bleed for your master" that leads to a speedy, more mournful bridge between the midtempo growling of the verses is one of the highlights of the CD. Similarly, the sudden ending to "I am god" that precedes the intro to "Launch of evil" makes the 2 almost seem to be parts of the same song, again creating an epic feeling that betrays the short and simple nature of the individual songs.
The quality of the songs is very consistent – a few rise above the others as standouts, while the rest form an orderly collection of very acceptable aggressive metal. There are no real weak moments to be pointed out (though some may find "Metal crusade" just a little too twee), and the songs tend to differ between 'excellent' and 'solid'.
A fair few songs may be less than spectacular, but Karl Beckman has bounced back and shown that perhaps 2 successful bands can rise out of the shadow of Mithotyn. Enough promise has been shown here to suggest that when Infernal Vengeance put together a full CD from a single writing session that they may advance their somewhat unique blend of sounds to make something great. As it stands, 'Dual mayhem' is a very enjoyable first effort for those who like the heavier side of folk metal.
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