If you’re familiar with the 2015 release ‘Empress/Abscess’ then there is no introduction needed for Illinois’ Immortal Bird. If this is your first encounter with the blackened sludge/crust four piece then you can expect a maelstrom of cross genre brutality that lays the foundation for pummelling riffs and vocals that are bloodthirsty with rage. Aside from a live release of their performance at Migration Fest, all has been quiet in the Immortal Bird camp; there have been a couple of line-up changes and ‘Thrive on Neglect’ sees the band return with a new drummer and guitarist.

Their sound hasn’t progressed an awful lot since their debut, and their sophomore effort is more a continuation of the blueprints laid out on their previous release rather than an attempt to reinvent the wheel. That is by no means a bad thing, however, as the band continue to not so much fit genres together as they do smash them into a pulp with brute force. There are crusty d-beats and melodic death metal melodies, interspersed with the occasional tremolo riff – the sinew between the meat and bones of this release is Rae Aimtay’s throaty roar – a battle cry amidst the musical turbulence she fronts.

The main difference between ‘Thrive on Neglect’ and ‘Empress/Abscess’ is that ‘Thrive…’ does not grab you with quite the same urgency as its predecessor. When Immortal Bird first crash landed their way onto listeners’ radars, there was nothing else like them and their sound was fresh and exciting. This latest release isn’t presenting any new ideas, so it can easily blend in and be overlooked. It is well worth making the time for if you have it though;  the interesting musical twists and turns of ‘Avolition’ hint at the promise of Immortal Bird and the masterpiece they are yet to write.

(7/10 Angela Davey)