Album Review: Infant Island – Beneath 8.2 (Post Hardcore)

Written by Carcassbomb

  • Infant Island
  • Beneath
  • Post Hardcore (But like, how it used to be)
  • May 15, 2020
  • 8.5/10

Infant Island provides a noisey kind of skramz approach to the genre and I’ve been wondering what albums are out there post 2010 to listen to. Well, this is one of them.

Front cover art – “Sadak In Search of the Waters of Oblivion” by John Martin (c.1812), processed by Austin O’Rourke & Alexander Rudenshiold.

This album comes in waves with each one bigger and deadlier, tormenting the shores it washes upon until there is nothing left but bedrock. We’re given a glimpse of chaos with the first track but before we receive the payload we must endure a baptism in noise. The setup reminds me of Love Is Dead And Time Will Bury It by Rolo Tomassi with the spacing of the tracks using ethereal kind of noisiness but where Rolo had white noise, Infant Island holds blackened noise.

“The Garden” is such a good example of how to do dissonance in 2020. Since I’ve criticised a lot of bands for being dissonance happy, what better album to demonstrate my point with. You don’t need panic chords, feedback and heaps of gain to be dissonant. Some of the best hardcore and screamo does this on a near unplugged set up. Besides that aspect, the most obviously striking thing are the vocals here. It’s so deeply accentuated and despondent, this vocalist would fit just as well in a DSBM band.

Anyone a fan of Birds In Row or Boss-de-Nage? If so, this album just reached essential status for you. It’s a similar aesthetic and genre smashing, I always appreciate this level of darkness in hardcore because it’s a genre that expresses well. The most expressive parts of the music are usually the core of the sound with noise layered over the top in tantalizing ways. This style to me, is what post hardcore should have always been, in a world prior to the success of bands like Dance Gavin Dance, Saosin, Circa Survive and that whole scene that overshadowed the beat poets who can scream, and scream real agony. (Not saying those bands don’t have good songs but there’s a lot of artifice in production)

The presence of the clean guitar melodies on “Stare Spells” ooze the early 00s sound, which in the current era of music is refreshing because now everything is SO over produced. Let the melody speak for itself, let the band speak for itself and don’t filter out the character of the music. Nothing about Infant Island feels compromised or unintended. It’s a sure shot.

It’s not perfect by any means but I appreciate it a lot. It’s a bit of a double edged sword with this kind of album because the conceptual part of it, or the audio thesis would definitely be served better on a longer record, to allow the changes of the soundscape to really set in. Like that Rolo record, which was almost double the length of this one. This would allow for more time to explore both, but particularly the instrument driven songs which are the best bits. At the same time this is a lot more abrasive and 26 minutes is all you really need. It’s good for a repeat. It’s also not super different from their 2018 Self Titled release which I kinda enjoy even more than this one. So it’s difficult to parse all that as there’s a lot of give and take or exceptions.

Cool band, check them out. They have a consistently great artwork aesthetic too.

1 Comment

  1. Definitely will be getting the Infant Island – Beneath 8.2 (Post Hardcore) when the funds fill up. Thanks for the review, I really like their style Its what kind a what I imagined after looking at the art work …. I really like your writing style too…( 😃) including the chosen font.

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