It must be a daunting prospect being a new band. You put all your stock into creating something fresh and invigorating. Not to mention the fact that your material will always sound good to your ear because you’re forever practising it and know it inside out. Yet this can also be the folly of many, many whom don’t even reach the first hurdle and many who slip into the realms of the generic and mundane for fear of breaking out of the little boxes created by genre fiends like myself. I can see why people hate critics.

Enough of the waffling however, today we are coming to discuss Ad Vitam Infernal a fresh face on the French Death Metal scene. The band formed in 2017 and have, over the past few years been working hard at creating Infernal Comedy the band’s debut album and indeed first ever release. Wasting no time with demos or EPs the band have chosen to cast us straight into the inferno. This is something which I can respect and get behind, the sort of rule breaking I encourage.

The opening title track also has no time for fanciful ambience, instead it throws the listener directly into the hellfire pits with oozing OSDM flare that ignites perfectly, again something which I can appreciate. The music itself is fairly standard fare, think Deicide mixed with Suffocation and you’ve got the general idea. Fast guitar riffs, pummelling drums and deep, gruff, yet not entirely guttural vocals. The next track Abject injects a little more intrigue, slower passages make for an overall epic sound which when coupled with the cleaner vocals makes for an almost Behemoth preaching of Death Metal spew, very enjoyable indeed. Things start to settle from here on out and as we reach God Shall Not Take Your Hand it appears that we have seen all the tricks with Ad Vitam Infernal have to offer.

Despite the lack of new tricks the second half of the album still offers up some pretty strong Death Metal. To Cross Rivers in particular brings more OSDM fury and classic overtones whilst still retaining its own brand of bombastic dare I say arena-like sound. Rise! Our Souls… contains similar qualities although by this point the record is becoming a little tired, that said though for a debut the themes exhibited certainly show area for growth and a chance to become something far bigger and better. Closing track Insane Prayer plays heavily upon the Behemoth style preaching at its beginning and again I never tire of this. It sets the scene really well for the all out barbaric assault that is to come whilst injecting an element of pseudo-intelligence about the music. I mean this in a positive light, overall the final track gives good closure.

There really isn’t all that much to hate about this record, it’s inoffensive pretty standard Death Metal with an old school twist and some added modern flare here and there. I wouldn’t go too crazy over it but as stated for a debut it is strong. Especially strong when you consider that it’s the bands only released material. Truthfully if you’re looking for a nice slice of decent modern Death Metal that is still ‘trve’ to the ways of old then Infernal Comedy is most certainly for you.

(8/10 George Caley)