INFRARED “From the Black Swamp”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Canada’s INFRARED is another 80’s band that refuses to roll over and die. Their history goes all the way back to the late 80’s and the glory days of thrash, when they played with the likes of SACRIFICE, ANVIL and DBC. The efforts of these old bands in the modern day can sometimes sound dreadfully out of whack. What can we say about INFRARED?

“From the Black Swamp” is a delightful bit of nostalgic thrash that sounds like it could have come out during the highwater of thrash metal and can hang with the younger bands trying that style now. In fact, I’ve heard “comeback” records from a lot bigger names than INFRARED that wouldn’t hold a candle to this. It’s got real crossover energy in classic fashion and provides a feast of 12 tracks that all have their own identity with something different to offer.

You can tell on first two tracks “Tribal Junction” and “No Master, No Gods” that these dudes mean business. They are both high energy thrashers with some cool time changes and a feeling of ANTHRAX and NUCLEAR ASSAULT at their height, right down to the snotty vocal delivery of Armin Kamal. There’s a kind of punk edge to INFRARED’s attack that is very noticeable. The production is crisp and dry, like it was back in the day.

From there, you get a varied assault right up until the end. Not every cut is bracingly fast; “Eat Your Own” and “Eternal Exile” are medium paced crunchers while the title track and the surprisingly ambitious “Semita Domum” have an epic touch like “Puppets”-era METALLICA. These guys spent time crafting memorable and differing songs while still staying true to the essence of 80’s thrash. You can’t ask too much more than that from a band that’s been laying low in the bushes for almost 40 years.