Infester is one of the ‘hidden gems’ from the underground American Death Metal scene. They achieved a certain cult status with relatively little materialised legacy. 1992’s ‘Darkness Unveiled’-demo and the 2-track 7” EP of the same title from the same year, and eventually the only full-length album, 1994’s ‘To The Depths, In Degradation’, are the only achievements the band has managed to produce. When they finally threw in the towel for good is not entirely clear. The last thing heard of the band was their contribution as a ‘backing band’ for one of the most controversial and least cultured bands in the (US) metal scene, Meat Shits. Around 1998, the ‘Second Degree Of Torture’-era, these three gentlemen were the backing band for Richard Deathrage’s perverse expressions. Incidentally, compared to the earliest Meat Shits work, which caused quite some controversy with those imaginative pornographic drawings on the covers, the ‘Second Degree Of Torture’-period was not exactly Meat Shits’ most memorable time.
It was also around that mid-90’s period that drummer Dario Derna began to spread his wings a bit more and also expanded his musical vision. For instance, he founded his solo Black Metal act Krohm in 1995 and in 1999 he was also one of the founding members of Funebrarum. He also joined Evoken in 1995 and Abazagorath in 1997 and was later also the drummer of Drawn And Quartered for 10 years. In other words, Infester has been a clear stepping stone for Dario Derna’s musical career.
This reissue of ‘Darkness Unveiled’ includes the 4-track demo and two additional rehearsal tracks from 1993. Two of the tracks from ‘Darkness Unveiled’ ended up in their original form on the 7″ EP of the same name, which saw the light of day via Moribund Records. Incidentally, that 7″ EP was not only an important release for Dario Derna, it was also the very first for Moribund Records. That label would go on to play a key role in the development of the (American) metal scene in the years to follow, spawning important releases from bands such as Nocturnus, Acheron, Meat Shits, Judas Iscariot, Belial, NME, Blood, Demonic Christ and Sargeist.
For this re-release, the songs have been polished up a bit by Dan Lowndes at his Resonance Sound Studio. I myself do not own the original ‘Darkness Unveiled’-demo to compare it to, but I did put the Moribund Records 7″ EP back on. When I put both releases against each other, it is clear that Dan Lowndes has indeed polished the songs a bit, but left the rough and gritty nature of a demo recording neatly intact. This means you get Infester at its best: abrasive, crude, chunky and quite aggressive. In fact, with today’s knowledge, you can already hear a tentative premature blueprint for what you will hear later on in Funebrarum. Death Metal was at its strongest around Infester’s formative years, which means you are presented with the same rolling riffs, pounding drums and ultra-low vocals as you heard in many bands of the time that delivered a similar sound such as Imprecation, Incantation, Nuclear Death, Rottrevore and even a hint Cannibal Corpse. Infester delivered their brutal Death Metal like most of the bands just mentioned with the necessary technique and thoughtfulness. It is less akin to a primitive band like Massacre for instance, although Infester did produce large amounts of furiously chopping riffs, all with the necessary dedication. I hadn’t heard the rehearsal tracks before, at least, not in this form. While ‘Braded Into Palsy’ appeared on the ‘To The Depths, In Degradation’-album in 1994, the other track, ‘Vagina Troll’ (what’s in a name), had not been released before. These songs are a lot coarser and rawer than the demo tracks and may therefore be a little more difficult to listen to for some, but they are nevertheless nice additions. Compared to the other tracks, they don’t bring anything really new to the table and are certainly not as mandatory.
Although the term is used in seemingly completely random ways, with this reissue Nuclear Winter Records brings a well-deserved tribute to a band that truly deserves the status of ‘cult band’ after all. Given the popularity the band still enjoys thirty years later, a reissue is also more than appropriate, and judging by the exorbitant prices being asked (and paid!) for the Martyrdoom Productions released vinyl version of the ‘To The Depths, In Degradation’-album, I don’t think a reissue of that record is a bad idea either.