By Greg Maki
Merriam-Webster defines “ecdysis” as “the act of molting or shedding an outer cuticular layer.” Sounds like a fitting title for a record that’s all about moving forward with a futuristic twist on its metallic sound.
“Ecdysis” is album number five for Moldovan band Infected Rain—its second via Napalm Records—and it’s clear the quintet spent the extra time afforded by the COVID-19 pandemic to explore and expand an attack it’s been refining since its 2008 formation. While nu metal and metalcore influences were prevalent on prior outings, now synths often are at the forefront, with more intricate guitar parts leading the varied rhythms. The increased technicality and a greater reliance on nontraditional arrangements pushes the band to the border of prog territory, a somewhat unexpected but not at all unwelcome development.
Frontwoman Lena Scissorhands remains a focal point with her spine-tingling harsh vocals and ethereal cleans. In metal, especially in the more extreme subgenres, vocals often sit in the mix at the same level as everything else, fighting for attention amidst the walls of guitars, bass and drums. Throughout “Ecdysis,” Lena glides overtop the instrumentation, often screaming when the music seems designed more for singing (and sometimes vice versa), always emotive and perpetually demanding the listener’s attention. The somewhat unusual approach adds to the album’s otherworldly, hypnotic feel.
All of the record’s diverse elements come together best in the bookends “Postmortem Pt. 1” and “Postmortem Pt. 2,” which effectively function as overture and postscript.
After making major strides in global visibility with its 2019 album “Endorphin,” Infected Rain easily could have chased further success by bringing in a hit-making producer and simplifying its sound for maximum consumption. Instead, it’s done the opposite, flexing its creative muscles in exciting new ways.
Napalm Records – January 7, 2022