Review: Insanity “Death After Death” [M.B.R. Records]

Review: Insanity “Death After Death” [M.B.R. Records]

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There are a variety of death metal bands that formed during the genre’s early stage, but started to release albums way later and in this case, we’re talking about California’s Insanity. Partially written in the 80’s, it’s best to think of Death After Death as an example of early death metal that harkens back to a time when the genre was still connected to the extremities of thrash metal.

Thanks to a ravaging amount of thundering thrashing, the listening experience feels close to that of Possessed and the bands that were influenced by them and while Insanity never reaches the bombastic territory of Morbid Angel, the band were clearly living up to their name. However, it should also be noted that by 1993, Insanity’s features were by no means “in”. The vocals sound closer to Martin van Drunen circa Malleus Maleficarum than Consuming Impulse; it’s a hoarse shout that you don’t come across often, but it works excellent for this kind of style and likewise, the drummer creates the right amount of havoc without relying on any blastbeats (which, of course, were nothing unusual in the early 90’s). That said, the band has no problem stacking a crazy amount of riffs together and while the amount of variation between the shorter assaults is somewhat limited, I certainly don’t mind. “Attack of Archangels” makes a fine opener of rapid-fire thrash/death metal mania that almost sounds like a logical successor to Possessed’s most frantic moments in terms of intensity. The lightning fast cuts like “Fire Death Fate” and “Blood for Blood” even resemble SadusIllusions with their eccentric riffs that explode into oblivion and if you could only recall the choruses of these songs, I don’t blame you. You could tell that Insanity occasionally went for the “riffs now, survive later” approach but as a fan of this kind of no-nonsense thrash/death metal with a razor sharp edge to it, I’m certainly fine with that.

Insanity also aren’t afraid to take some risks either with expanded song structures either and thus, you end up with occasional longer songs that are full of surprises, even if the results are mixed. “Rotting Decay” spends more time evoking gnarly passages that you might expect from some “proper” death metal bands, even if it’s structurally a bit of a head scratcher. Instead of a chain reaction of riffs that the shorter songs summon, you end up with an overlong cut of far less inspiring riffs played mostly at ineffective speed. “Possessed” recalls the band operating on a “riffs first, songs later” approach that’s also a disadvantage. While not awful by any means, you end up with a variety of riffs that fly into several directions without purpose and while I’m tempted to claim that Insanity were no good at writing longer songs, “Morbid Lust” proves that they actually could. This clinical riff maze almost recalls a fusion between Pestilence’s Malleus Maleficarum and Atheist’s Piece of Time. You’ve got the cleverly composed riff-approach of the former and the free-spirited attitude of the latter – it’s a combination that I’m very fond of and best of all, things actually go somewhere without causing any distractions whatsoever.

One might wonder if Insanity were better off, had only they released an album some years prior, but as it stands, Death After Death falls in the cult classic category that death metal fans shouldn’t hesitate to go after. Forget about the generic song titles, the piss-poor artwork and certainly don’t be alarmed by two so-so songs… we’re talking about a forgotten gem of death metal right here.

Score: 88/100 – Execution of the senses

Release date: June 1993

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