One of the absolutely beautiful things about writing for this site, is the amount of curveballs you get thrown your way when putting your hand up for something you think you’ve got a pretty good understanding of. You often think that something falls within the parameters of your personal musical reference points but upon playing of or downloading of said music, you find it’s something completely different. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way but it’s amazing how often you’re spun on your heels.

As you can probably guess, this new full-length release from Italian metallers Infection Code, falls into this category of being described as one thing (well several including Carcass, Red Harvest and Meshuggah for starters) and really being nothing like the bands mentioned previously whatsoever. I’m not sure whether these PR firms/record companies do this on purpose (I am sure they do) and whether or not it’s a cunning ruse to get hacks like me (as well as editors picking it out for review Ed) to put their calloused, carpel tunnelled ravaged hands up for something, thinking it’s something they know when in fact what’s contained under the hood is something far less interesting. Jury’s out I suppose and who the fuck am I to make such a judgement, but I can tell you that all of the musical reference points that are used to described Infection Code are way, way, way off. Not saying that this is a big pot of boiling piss with a side order of shit fingers, but it’s certainly sailing close to false advertising.

This is all competently played and the first (magnificently named) song ‘Slowly We Suffer’, comes roaring out of the blocks like We Have Come For You All era Anthrax, a snarling, bile flecked, rabid platypus of a track that for the first minute or so, makes you sit up and lean in (if that’s not a contradictory statement?). But it’s at this point that the vocals start to grate, annoy, irritate, stand out (not for good reasons) and detracts from some of the good things that are bubbling under the surface of the remainder of this album.

Imagine if you will, Richard Patrick from Filter at his screamiest but pitched a little higher and then take a little from the column marked ‘Paul Catten school of anguished agro punk’ and mix it in with the whiny end of Dave Mustaine and you’ve got some vocals that really, really fucking irritate. Given the three vocalists mentioned previously, you could imagine a scenario where that might sound like a decent enough recipe for success, except it isn’t. it’s far from that. It’s recipe for a shit pie with a side order of a maggot filled jacket potato covered with the juices of a prolapsed anus as gravy. Hyperbole? Probably. Has this caught me on a bad day? Nope. I’m in a pretty good mood but to be completely honest, the vocals on this album, are so distracting and seemingly out of place, it undermines any of the good work accomplished. As the album grinds its way to its unsatisfactory conclusion, it also manages to compound the multiple errors on show here as it slides into rock operatics, as the band seem to lose faith in their thrashy, metal approach and segue into Bon Jovi soaring rock choruses. It’s really quite baffling as to why, given the promising start, that the album self-destructs so palpably and flushes itself down the toilet.

(2/10 Nick Griffiths)