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THE INFESTED – ‘Raw Ensemble’ Album Review

THE INFESTED – Raw Ensemble

The InfestedRaw Ensemble is the third full length album by The Infested (Leeds, UK). The band has been on a hiatus for a number of years now (with the exception of a reunion show in 2017), however songwriter and founding member G has continued to write music and release new material.

Raw Ensemble features new songs plus a couple of revamped originals, recorded in a DIY home studio fashion and aims to sound less polished compared to 2013’s Eaten From The Inside. Every instrument and all vocals were performed and mixed by G with some additional vocals added by co-founder Lee, who hasn’t been in the band since 2006!

The album opens with a raw, fast and massively heavy anti-fundamentalist religion song, Believe. The vocals are raw throat, guitars fast and heavy and the rhythm section just as tight as fuck! The Infested move on to attack the ludicrous “Brexit” vote and the disinformation spread by the peddlers of lies on Hoax. Although the track is dominated by incredibly fast drumming and a booming bass with buzzsaw guitars, the manically delivered lyrics only settle down for a ska section.

The tracks leave no room in-between and Shackles is introduced with a Stiff Little Fingers sounding guitar riff (with some rhythm guitars as well). About half-way through, the guitars get choppier, the drums pound and the instrumental blends into Shackles (Part 2) where the pace intensifies and the lyrics deeply personal.

Fight Or Flight is a chunky and churning fast ska track that moves into punk territory and the dual vocals remind me of Anti Flag with a raw edge. At the midway point of this aggressive, energetic and excellent package of 12 songs is Dopamine with some hardcore overtones, manic pace and, once again, I think The Infested sound more West Coast USA than Northern England with hints of Minor Threat, MDC and Bad Religion running through the album. Monsters, focuses on the perpetrators of crimes with some ska and punk mingling in the background.

The raucous and rollicking SSRI OR Die, moves between mid-paced ska with a big bass and a punk rock set of guitar chords that propel the track into mosh-pit heaven. The five-minute plus Buy To Survive takes on rampant consumerism with an extended (and quite brilliant) musical introduction that throttles down to bass and drums before the vocals and guitars kick back in. The song has at least three tempo changes and works really well and it is followed with Another Life a fun romp into ska land with lyrics about the bands early touring days.

The 11th track, Outro features mellow keyboards on an instrumental full of beauty and kindness. It was a pleasant surprise and brought out a huge smile. The last song on the album is a bonus/demo track, Turn The Page with punk sections mingling with reggae tinged chapters and it’s a great end to a super punk rock album.

Check out Raw Ensemble by The Infested here: https://ehcrecords.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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