Much like the “re-thrash” movement, there has been another deluge of bands calling their music “old-school death metal”. Like a lot of the aforementioned thrash bands, their death metal equivalents try to pass off simplistic and repetitive songwriting as an “homage” to the old days. Fortunately, Costa Rica’s Insepulto understand songwriting, and show it on their second album, The Necrodex.
Mixing equal parts of Obituary, Unleashed, and Bolt Thrower, Insepulto throw down some meaty, driving riffs. Said riffs are the highlight here, really calling out the Bolt Thrower influence. Singer “The Master Butcher” has a guttural delivery that is amazingly decipherable given the presentation and singing in English, which I’m assuming isn’t his primary language.
Time changes abound aplenty in The Necrodex. Track four, Glorious and Grotesque starts out in a mid-tempo chug before going nuts when the refrain hits. From the reverse standpoint, Shadows in Disgraceful Portrait starts out at a gallop until the solo slows things down to show off some excellent wailing from the stringed beast before returning to the speed we got at the beginning. At only 3:25, it’s a fun track that doesn’t waste any time, making it a personal favorite.
Another surprise was to find out the band uses programmed drums. Sure, the percussion isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s both effective and doesn’t have that “too perfect” sound employed by lesser bands.
If I had one major complaint about this album, it’s the production. The Necrodex sounds muddy as hell, (and maybe it’s not “kvlt” to say so) but it sucks a lot of the energy out of the tracks. I understand Insepulto are going for the old-school sound, but replicating the aesthetic of the factory FM radio in a 1988 Toyota doesn’t add anything. Granted, this may have been a budget and/or experience issue, but it does knock a point or two off the final score.
Given that Insepulto has been together since 1993, you can hear the talent and experience going into the songs and presentation of The Necrodex. If you’re tired of the imitators, give Insepulto a listen. As someone who has both “been there” and “done that”, Insepulto know how to replicate the feel of the late ’80s/early ’90s without sounding lazy and uninspired.
Special thanks to Transcending Obscurity PR for the complementary review copy.