Review: Inerth ‘Inerth’

The last song on Inerth’s self-titled four-track EP is a cover of Wardance by Killing Joke. If you don’t know Killing Joke, go and listen to their 1980 self-titled debut. Raw and driving socially-conscious post-punk that often verges on all-out industrial heaviness, with pounding drums, weighty bass and synths, lean and precise guitar, and unique bellowing vocals that roar and soar. Vocalist Jaz Coleman is often only a frequency or two away from death metal growling. An awesome band that deserve more credit and attention.

Inerth ‘Inerth’ EP

Killing Joke are a great starting point for approaching Inerth who are coming from a similarly-minded place and their sound isn’t a million miles away either, although they’ve also been listening to a lot of Bolt Thrower, too – as should we all. Talk of death metal might put you off, especially if you prefer Iommian heft and sludgy groove, but Inerth don’t plumb too far down that abyss, retaining much of their punk and grind origins, and of course one of the best things about Bolt Thrower is those huge and heavy slow riffs!

This release is in the spirit of the unpolished extreme punk energy of early Earache bands like the aforementioned death metal militarists, as well as Napalm Death and Godflesh. Grinding death punk with an industrial feel – but without electronics. It’s heavy and raw with a mid-paced crunch and slow grind, lots of bruising riffs and battering drums, and a subtle industrial vibe achieved without drum machines or synthesisers. You can hear lot of little ideas that could be developed into expansive soundscapes or the sort of odd arresting sounds that Killing Joke take and make into hooks.

This is a melting pot of grind, death, punk and post-punk that sounds big and heavy but not so produced as to be artificially huge – it feels like the band are playing live in the room…

After a snippet of Klaus Kinski in Nosferatu: Phantom Der Nacht, Decrease comes in all mid-paced and pounding, full of big headbanging riffs, quirky guitar moments, and punk grit – the unapologetic sum of Inerth’s influences but with a strong sense of where they could go with them. Second track Grace has a limber Godflesh feel that’s more gritty, rough, and human rather than mechanical and cold. Death metal drums rumble underneath twisting post punk guitar and there’s even more of those highly satisfying slow and straightforward brutal riffs. Collapse is the most realised track here, the power and character of each instrument coming together to show what the band are capable of: brute force heaviness and a uniquely immersive ultraviolent, almost futuristic atmosphere. As for the Killing Joke cover, well it’s a fair take on the original but I don’t really like covers in general, however it’s a cool way of tying things together and acknowledging their influences.

This is a melting pot of grind, death, punk and post-punk that sounds big and heavy but not so produced as to be artificially huge – it feels like the band are playing live in the room. But it’s not the ill-conceived sound of a bunch of influences thrown together. Inerth understand the strong thread of commonality that runs through the likes of those early post-punk and Earache bands (just have a read of their lyrics), and there’s even some hints of the most interesting experimentation of the early years of the Seattle grunge scene (the beginning of Collapse sounds a lot like Jesus Christ Pose to me). All in all it all sounds incredibly promising. Here’s hoping that a full length is on the way soon!

Label: Living Dead Society
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Josuph Price