Groovy riffs, metalcore breakdowns, nu-metal elements, and versatile vocals that range from melodic and ethereal all the way to deep growls and screams have made INFECTED RAIN a force to be reckoned with in the metal scene. With so much going on, their music is not easy to label falling somewhere between metalcore, groove metal, and modern metal though the consensus is that it slaps. Their latest album, “Time,” was released on February 9th, 2024, via Napalm Records and it showcases the (now) four-piece Moldovan band in splendid form.
Musically, this is a rather heavy affair with an intricate and layered sound design while the lyrics are emotional and poignant to the point of being cathartic. Singles “Because I Let You” and “Lighthouse” are some of the best examples in this respect, the first being quite an aggressive and gritty number with pockets of melancholy and ethereal ambiance juxtaposing a painful story that most of us can relate to while the second is an empowering track that offers a more optimistic view with groovy guitars and soft, breathy vocals in the chorus that create a really fragile atmosphere. Fast-paced “The Answer Is You” dances between an intense rhythm driven by a nu-metal riff and some synth-wave passages while the lyrics are all about personal accountability to be your best self.
On the other hand, tracks such as the pre-released singles “Dying Light” and “Never to Return” are more general (even philosophical) in terms of lyrical content, as they dig deeper into the idea that time is passing by but without being preachy about it, rather presenting it from on objective standpoint. Musically, “Dying Light” is quite a heavy number with some rhythmic grooves, ominous vocals, and some keys that add a lighter touch showcasing the dynamic scope of their songwriting. Immersive “Never to Return” is a slower song with a nice cinematic tone from the Eastern instrumentation that contrasts with hard-hitting, meaty riffs and harsh vocals as Lena Scissorhands wails over the fleeting moments that we can’t possibly re-live. We’re only about halfway through the album at this point yet I do believe the best aspect of “Time” is how well-crafted and in sync the music and the lyrical content are.
Djent anthem “Vivarium” is an easy highlight with haunting vocals, intense screams, and more clean singing from Lena Scissorhands, while the sparse keys and techno elements try to lighten the otherwise darker atmosphere. The catchy vocal melodies would make this an absolute killer live track. Energetic “Pandemonium” flows between melodic parts complete with synth accents and heavier sections with growls that pair well with punchy drums while the breakdown halfway through is slow and melodic, making it another track to add to the concert setlist. Experimental “Enmity” fuses EDM elements, synth-wave, and a solid metal backbone into one rather cohesive track as the transitions between different passages are seamless. Actually, the whole album feels incredibly cohesive and unified as the songs flow together smoothly through a variety of different soundscapes and emotions.
The tail end of the album also boasts some interesting gems, one of them being the hard-hitting “Unpredictable” which moves between beautiful verses and pounding drums on one hand and punchy guitars and deep growls on the other hand while the lyrics circle back to the unavoidable passage of time. Despite the searing breakdown, the intense “Game of Blame” is the album’s most beautiful moment, flowing with a calm and softness that is somewhat reminiscent of “Storm,” while lyrically it feels like a counterpoint to “Because I Let You.” Sang half in Italian and half in English, atmospheric “Paura” talks about how if we want to live our best lives, we should overcome our fears. This is an interesting track with some electronic elements in the background as guitars and vocals drive the song’s message home in harsh tones and aggressive sounds. The album closes with “A Second or a Thousand Years,” an ambient piece of music that is perfect for a moment of rumination on the lyrical depth of the album.
In conclusion, I feel like “Time” is the quintessential INFECTED RAIN album as it not only has all the trademarks of the band on display but also expands their sound into exciting directions with some nicely incorporated experimental ideas. They know how to write to their strengths and it shows as each of the twelve individual songs is well written and expertly delivered. It’s a solid, mature effort with enough variety in the sound design and consistency in the songwriting department to give it a high playability rate. “Time” is surely going to pop up in many end-of-the-year lists, including my own.
Written by Andrea Crow
1. Because I Let You
2. Dying Light
3. Never To Return
5. The Answer Is You
10. Game Of Blame
12. A Second or A Thousand Years
- Elena “Lena Scissorhands” Cataraga – vocals
- Vadim “Vidick” Ojog – guitars
- Eugen Voluta – drums
- Alice Lane – bass